Motorola DROID R2-D2 update brings bug fixes and Android 2.3.4

It might not have 3 legs and a pico projector but the Motorola DROID 2 R2-D2 is still speeding along over on Verizon. Today they’ve just announced and detailed a new software update for the aging smartphone that will finally bring it to Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, as well as a few much needed bug fixes for all you Star Wars fans.

The details come right from Verizon themselves, and usually this means the update is only days away and could start rolling out at any time. For those that have not joined the dark side and rooted the update will bring a host of security patches and updates, improved battery life, improved 3G data connectivity and hotspot features, as well as fix some bugs.

The update appears to be quite small so nothing major is going on here. All the usual Verizon branded apps like Navigator will be updated to their respective latest versions and Motorola appears to have fixed some issues with camera settings being wiped when you reboot, and the device turning on my itself at times. It’s doubtful that the smartphone will ever see Ice Cream Sandwich officially but if those XDA developers use the force I’m sure we can get some ROM’s running on it.

As usual the update will break root and probably kill any previous bootloader cracks previously possible for the Motorola device so use caution if that concerns you. The update should start soon so be sure and check often and leave us a comment once it finally lands.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Droid 2
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : August 10, 2010
    Release Date : August 11, 2010
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 3.70 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x854
  • Screen Type : TFT
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.58 Inch
  • Width : 2.38 Inch
  • Depth : 0.54 Inch
  • Weight : 169 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1400 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 315 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.2.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : TI OMAP
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 512 MB
    Internal Storage : 8.192 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 5 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via Droid-Life]


Sanwa USB Reader grants external storage, but not to everyone

Most of the Android phones on the market have some method of external storage, almost always in MicroSD card form. But a few notable phones like the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus lack this capability, as do several high-profile upcoming phones like the HTC One X. A little company called Sanwa aims to correct these oversights with the Sanwa USB Reader, a gadget that’s nothing if not descriptive: it plugs into a standard MicroUSB port and adds a full-sized USB port and standard SD/MicroSD slots, plus another MicroUSB port, presumably for pass-through charging.

There’s just one problem: this little gadget is not universal. Right now the only popular devices it supports are the Samsung Galaxy S II and Sony’s Tablet S, with some Japan-only Sony and Toshiba models thrown in for good measure. Of course the Galaxy S II already has a MicroSD card slot, but I suppose it could still be useful for its other functions, and will (probably) work with Samsung phones that are simple enough. Most of this is a moot point for a lot of our readers anyway, since the reader is only available in Japan, for the local equivalent of around $40.

Anything running Honeycomb or later should be able to take advantage of USB host mode, which (in theory) allows just about any USB storage device to be hooked up and accessed with a file manager. This being the case, most Android tablets can access the ports added by this little gadget with either a cheap adapter or a first-party accessory to do the job. Of course, those aren’t quite as flexible as Sanwa’s device, but I’d bet yen to donuts that they’re more reliable.

[via Everything USB; via TalkAndroid]


Flash Blink App uses camera LED for call notifications

We see tons and tons of random applications or development in the world of Android but every once in a while I see something interesting and unique like Flash Blink that I just have to share with our readers. Meet Flash Blink, an app developed to use the camera flash on our Android smartphones to notify users of an incoming call. No more irritating ringtones, just use that flash.

Senior member and developer over at XDA named faiyyaz has developed Flash Blink, and it works with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich too. The app doubles as a torch or “flashlight” app like we’ve seen before, but using the LED for notifications is pretty neat. Obviously the developer or Android Community can’t be held responsible if your LED burns out, but we did want to mention it just in case.

The app seems to be in the early stages but is moving along quite quickly. Some users with the DEFY are reporting the LED stays on after you answer the call, so that could be irritating. Annoying vibrations that are sometimes too weak, or ringtones that aren’t loud enough can be a pain. If you want to know for sure that your phone is going off let that bright LED notify you instead.

The developer states that the app is in the early stages like we mentioned above, and he will be adding tons more features in the future, as well as hopefully fixing any device bugs or adding additional support. For now head to the XDA links below to give it a try yourself. Would you use this, or is it a little extreme for a notification?

XDA Flash Blink thread

[via XDA]


Sony Tablet P Review

Variety is the spice of life, and in the mobile world this tenet is demonstrated best with Android hardware. When it comes to variety, Android phones and tablets beat all comers. So it was with some anticipation that I received Sony’s Tablet P, a singular device that sets out to put an impressively-sized screen in a small body that’s made possible by a folding hinged design, achieving more portability than anything in its class. But a novel idea doesn’t necessarily make a good product, so I put it through Android Community’s regular review regimen. Does the Tablet P stack up to the competition? Read on to find out.

Hardware

The Tablet P is entirely unique among current mobile products – not just Android tablets, but the entire mobile space. The closest mainstream device that it could be compared to is Microsoft’s cancelled Courier project, though various other folding designs have been tried (and usually failed) by smaller companies. In its primary design goal, the Tablet P succeeds: it’s a full-sized Honeycomb tablet that can fit into a large pocket or small purse easily. Folded up, it’s about the size of a big television remote or a fat checkbook. Completely expanded, it’s the size of a thick 7-inch tablet with an odd aspect ratio.

Closed, the Tablet P presents its Sony, PlayStation and AT&T emblems plus a hole for the 5 megapixel camera. The silver plastic encompasses most of the top and bottom, and both lids slide off to allow access to the SIM card and MicroSD card (2GB) respectively. On the bottom half of the right side sit all the connections and controls: power button an jack, MicroUSB cable (which unfortunately doesn’t charge the unit) and a tiny volume rocker. The rest of the exterior is bare, save a microphone/headphone jack on the bottom.

Unfold the tablet’s impressively strong hinge, and you’re greeted with dual 5.5-inch touschscreens on the top and bottom. That hinge is an important detail, by the way: you’ll be using this moving part every time you pick up the device, so it’s good to know that the part is stiff enough to hold the screens apart at any angle from 1-180 degrees. The screens (1024×480 each, for a combined resolution and size of 1024×960 and just over seven inches) are bright and clear, with plenty of response in their capacitive surfaces.

A note on ergonomics: they’re surprisingly good. Owing mostly to the cunning and natural curve of the outer case, the Tablet P feel extremely comfortable when held in two hands. Holding it with the upper screen angled towards you feels something like a Nintendo DS – or rather, what the Nintendo DS would feel like if it weren’t shaped like a box. Even holding the tablet fully open in a more traditional position is comfy, thanks to a good, solid grip at nearly every point.

Software

Regrettably the Tablet P comes loaded with Android 3.2, despite the fact that Ice Cream Sandwich was available months ago. Sony promises to rectify this, though there’s no hard information on when we’ll get the update except “after April” (allowing AT&T time to distribute it). That said, this non-standard form factor needs a considerable bit of software engineering, going far beyond the standard Android Manufacturer skin – which is nonetheless present.

The tablet runs on NVIDIA’s tried and tested Tegra 2 platform, with a gigabyte of memory to help it along. This makes it admirably responsive and much quicker than I was expecting. And that’s a good thing, since Sony’s custom skin pervades the interface everywhere. You’ll find Sony apps for music, photos, video, RSS, even for connecting to WiFi networks. Other extras include Evernote, Foursquare, and a pre-installed Flash player. Crash Bandicoot, one of many games available on the included PlayStation Store, is free.

The curious form factor that defines the tablet actually effects the software very little. Most apps adjust to the odd aspect ratio in one of two ways: they either fill out across both screens (most of the time) or use up all of the top screen (some of the time). Honeycomb’s built-in resize function for older Android apps is able to adjust the view to one or both screens. Sony’s apps in particular make good use of the split, with play or display functions up top and menu or keyboard functions on the bottom.

The problem comes with the apps that don’t quite work. The Android Market (which, interestingly, will not update to the Google Play Store) is chief among these, since it only ever uses the top screen and won’t work at all in portrait mode. Since I’ve found no way to correct this, I have to assume that the problem will persist with at least some apps, though there’s no way to know which. Benchmarks don’t inspire much confidence: Quadrant scored the Tablet P in the 1800 range, well below the norm for Tegra 2 devices.

Media

The split-screen design makes the Tablet P an interesting proposition for media. Movies and music, are artificially stinted since videos can only play on one screen or be bifurcated. Photo viewing is a problem for the same reason. (Regular web browsing isn’t really affected by the split.) Sound is a problem too, thanks to tiny speakers obscured by the plastic lids on either side of the case. To be blunt, video and audio just aren’t a good experience on the device. If you plan on listening to much music you’ll need both a bigger MicroSD card and a decent pair of headphones.

Oddly, the same things that cause problems for movies and music make the Tablet P nearly perfect for gaming, if you stick to Sony’s PlayStation Store. The form factor creates a natural controller grip with the huge bezel acting as a buffer for your fingertips. Gameplay above and controls below mirror the old Game & Watch toys, and it’s a surprisingly fun experience. The cameras are best ignored. Sure, you could take snapshots with the 5 megapixel rear, and you can video chat with the VGA camera, but the quality isn’t anything to write home about.

Battery

The 3,080mAh  battery on the Tablet P is well below average for Android tablets, probably due to the necessity of getting it all in one side of the device. Used normally it’ll last all day on WiFi, but you’ll need to keep a close eye on the bar for journeys out on AT&T’s HSPA+ network. Do a lot of gaming or streaming video, and you’ll need to keep the rather bulky laptop-style charger close at hand. Running straight through with basic web browsing and apps, you should get 6-7 hours of battery life.

Wrap-Up

The Tablet P is a novelty, and at certain tasks it excels. Those tasks are playing emulated PlayStation games, fitting into small spaces and making your friends go “oooh”. Unfortunately, there aren’t many use cases where its unique design comes in handy, and quite a few where it’s a considerable drawback. As much as Sony should be applauded for trying out new ideas, even executing them as well as could probably be expected, there’s not much to recommend here beyond some great ergonomic design and a compact size.

The Tablet P is, almost literally, less than the sum of its parts. Two 5.5-inch displays don’t make an 11-inch tablet, a clamshell design doesn’t make a a thick device thinner, and the addition of lots of Sony software and tweaks doesn’t make Honeycomb an easier pill to swallow. Combine that with a  $399.99 on-contract price at AT&T (and nowhere else, for the moment) and you’ve got an interesting experience that doesn’t justify a large cost and commitment. The one exception is if you absolutely love PlayStation games, and can live with the relatively small library in Sony’s PlayStation Store.

IMG_6231 IMG_6241 IMG_6254 IMG_6264 IMG_6269 IMG_6291 IMG_6309 IMG_6315 IMG_6317 IMG_6329 IMG_6342 IMG_6345 IMG_6360 IMG_6385 IMG_20120309_150509-580x435
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Tablet P
    Manufactuer : Sony
    Carrier : NA
    Announced Date : April 26, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As : Sony Tablet S2
Display
  • Screen Size : 5.5 Inch
  • Resolution : 1024x480
  • Screen Type : TFT
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : NA
  • Width : NA
  • Depth : NA
  • Weight : NA
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Polymer
  • Battery Capacity : 3080 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 3.1.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
Hardware
    CPU : Tegra 2
    CPU Clock Speed : Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : NA
    Internal Storage : NA
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 0.3 MP
    Camera Features:
  • 720p Video Recording
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Location Features:
  • GPS
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :


Preview: Toshiba AT330 13.3″ Android 4.0 Tablet

Here we are folks! A new day and a new the announcement of a new Ice Cream Sandwich enabled tablet. This time, Toshiba unveiled the new AT330 Android 4.0 tablet, at its Toshiba World 2012 event in Germany.

If you are rolling your eyes at this point and wondering ‘’What’s different about this one?”, well, the answer is literally right in front of you. This is is 13.3-inch tablet, akin to the screen size of a standard laptop, and is more than 30% larger than any other tablet available at the moment. Also, the AT330 is the third tablet announced that houses a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor

It’s also equipped with a TV tuner and an antenna, and something not seen in a phone or tablet in a long time – a full sized SD card slot. It seems the extra 30% space has been put to good use. The slate features a contemporary plastic body accentuated with metal and a matte finish grip, allowing you to hold it easily.

Other specifications include:

  • 1.4 Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor
  • Android 4.0 OS
  • 13.3-inch multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
  • 1920×1200 screen resolution (expected)
  • 32GB built in memory, expandable to 32GB with SD card
  • 5 MP with flash rear camera,  VGA front camera
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • Mini USB port, HDMI out port

Toshiba has showcased only a prototype so far, and a full specification list is yet unavailable. No official release date or pricing has been announced.

It gets difficult to hold on to a 10-inch screen for a long time, hence the multitude of stands and docks available, so it is understandable that people will have qualms about holding an even bigger slate. Also, while a full sized SD card is rare and seemingly vintage at this point, it also doesn’t provides multi-device portability, as most devices have now moved on to microSD slots.

Here is a short video introducing the Toshiba AT330:

What are your thoughts? Is 13.3” too big? Is a TV tuner and antenna a welcome addition? Full SD card slot? Really?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


This article, Preview: Toshiba AT330 13.3″ Android 4.0 Tablet , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.


Dude, where’s your phone? Top common places to lose your phone

Did you hear that story about a guy who walks into a bar with a prototype of the world’s most sought-after smartphone and leaves the bar without it, after probably (we dare say) getting intoxicated? Yeah, go ahead and scoff, but if statistics are to be believed, this is a very common occurrence and one that can easily happen to any of us. This is especially the case if you live in in London, where the pub is the number one place where people lose their phones. How did we know?

We draw this conclusion based on the statistics released by Lookout Mobile Security, a software company that helps folks from across the world locate misplaced or stolen phones.  In case you’re wondering about the methodology, the study used the Foursquare API to determine which venue type was closest to the lost phone’s location. So, where exactly did most people from various countries and cities lost their phones in 2011?

Lookout tracked 15 million global users in 2011, showing that coffee shops and restaurants seem to be the two most common places where people lose their phones. Another common place for people to lose their phones is at the office, as it can be seen in Delhi, Barcelona, London, Paris and San Francisco.

Of course, there are some city-specific oddities. Apparently, Korean people have the tendency to lose their phones in cemeteries. You thought those freaky ghost movies that the country has exported over the last decade were fiction? Think again. And what exactly is that men’s store listed in Tokyo at number six? We don’t even want to know what those guys were doing in the first place to lose sight of their phones. Other interesting top 10 entries are military base in Moscow, tech startup in Barcelona, New Delhi, and San Francisco (where else?) and soccer field in Jakarta.

Inhabitants in Seattle, Philadelphia, Manchester, Amsterdam, Prague, Delhi, and Jakarta tend to lose their phones twice a year. On the other hand, Singaporeans and Chicagoans only lose their phones once every three years. But they are no match compared to those who live in Austin and Seoul, as they only lose their phones once every four years. How do you guys do it?

All in all, Lookout says it helped locate 9 million phones last year, which equals to 24,567 phones a day, 1,027 phones every hour, 17 phones a minute, and 1 phone every 3.5 seconds. By the time you finished reading this article, 51 lost phones would’ve been reunited with their lawful owners.

I haven’t lost a smartphone for years (what a way to jinx it now), but that’s partly due to the fact that it’s chained to my belt now (not really). What’s your experience? Check out the list below so you can be extra careful when visiting similar establishments in the future.

Delhi

Office, Apartment building, Restaurant, Tech startup, Coffee shop, Bank, Department store, Burger joint, Train station, Lounge

Jakarta
Lounge, Restaurant, Office, Diner, Hospital, Soccer field, Asian restaurant, School, Dentist, Mosque

Tokyo
Historic site, Restaurant, Convenience store, Park, Ramen house, Hotel, Men’s store, Office, Electronic store, Train station

Seoul
Martial Arts Dojo, Baseball field, Cemetery, Coffee shop, Restaurant, Arcade, Bank, School, Beer garden, Soup place

Sydney
Coffee shop, Church, Automotive shop, Office, Doctor’s office, Bus line, Great outdoors, Park, School, Gas station

Barcelona

Office, Ice cream shop, Great outdoors, Restaurant, Doctor’s office, Light rail, Tech startup, Hotel, Bakery, Bar

Brasilia
Apartment building, Church, Café, Sushi restaurant, Salon or barbershop, Office, Drugstore or pharmacy, Pool, Great outdoors

London
Pub, Office, Grocery or supermarket, Bus line, Chinese restaurant, Great outdoors, Park, Indian restaurant, Fast food restaurant, Train station

Moscow
Automotive shop, Military base, Department store, Gas station, Apartment building, Parking, Toy or game store, Food court, Office mall

Munich
Hotel, Office, Playground, Electronic store, Bar, French restaurant, High school, Falafel restaurant, Gym, Coffee shop

Paris
Gas station, Church, Office, Restaurant, Market, Bus station, Bar, Automotive shop, Hospital, Historic site

San Francisco

Coffee shop, Office, Drugstore or pharmacy, Bank, Hotel, Pizza place, Fast food restaurant, Grocery or supermarket, Kids store, Tech startup

Seattle
Fast food restaurant, Gas station, Grocery or supermarket, Coffee shop, Video store, American restaurant, Department store, Automotive shop, Pizza place, Deli

Chicago
Coffee shop, Drugstore or pharmacy, Church, Gas station or garage, Fast food restaurant, Grocery or supermarket, Video store, Donut shop, Sandwich place, Library


This article, Dude, where’s your phone? Top common places to lose your phone , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.


Galaxy Tab 11.6 hiding on Samsung’s own website

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 11.6-inch model is nothing more than a rumor for now. Previous rumors suggested this tablet would be coming with a retina or better quality display, and be Samsung’s next flagship tablet with an impressive and high resolution Super AMOLED HD screen and more. While these are only still rumors at this point a new picture over on Samsung.com has us wondering again.

I was skeptical at first after seeing this picture, but after taking a few things into consideration I’ve changed my mind. At first glance for those familiar with Samsung’s legal battles with Apple, you’d see this and say it is the Galaxy Tab 10.1 N from the German markets. The redesigned original Galaxy Tab 10.1, but there are a few things that lead me to think otherwise. According to AndroidandMe the picture was spotted on Samsung.com on the Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core processors product page. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and N are dual-core Tegra 2 powered tablets. Not Samsung’s new and upcoming Cortex-A15 dual-core 5250.

The image above clearly shows it being promoted with the new 5250 and not the older Tegra 2 processor. While the design is similar to the 10.1N this appears to be something different. The speaker grills are slightly larger, and it looks pretty long — possibly an 11.6″ tablet.

Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Tab 2 in a 10″ model and the Galaxy Note 10.1 also. Both of those as we saw at MWC (and linked to below) come with a darker color aluminum and a much larger speaker grill, leading us to believe the image above isn’t those either. The chances that is indeed a new 11.6″ model is possible, running on the still unreleased Samsung Exynos dual-core 5250 or possibly even their quad-core processor that we are expecting to see in the Galaxy S III.

For now this is all just speculation and could quite possibly be a mockup or placeholder image, or that could be the next Galaxy Tab, in an 11.6-inch size that has been hiding under plain sight. If Samsung does release a brand new quad-core or fast dual-core 11.6 tablet with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 16:10 screen ratio, running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich I’ll be getting my wallet out really fast.

Thoughts on the image?

[via AndroidandMe]


Sony Xperia S headed to Canada on Rogers

Sony is shipping their latest flagship handset to carriers and retailers around the globe, and we can add Rogers in Canada to the list. A picture posted to the Sony Mobile Facebook page gives us as clear an indication as any. Given the timing, the Sony Xperia S should launch on the Canadian network in April.

The phone features dual-core processing, a 720p display, and pretty awesome 12MP camera. If you need a bit of a refresher on the Xperia S, hit up our hands on look from back at CES.

[via MobileSyrup]


LED Notifications are back, thanks to FlashBlink

Did you know that the most common use of a phone camera’s LED flash was as a torch?

With the recommended removal of all physical buttons from Android 4.0 phones, some of these flagship devices are also missing a notification LED. But we now have a solution at hand, thanks to a developer over at XDA-developers - FlashBlink. Senior XDA member Faiyyaz says he decided to create the app when he saw a few people asking for something that would help them use the camera flash as an LED notification.

FlashBlink is not just another torch app, giving users the ability to get notified on incoming calls using the camera LED/xenon flash. This app is not the first of its kind, with the introduction of Flashlight Notifier and Flash Alert, but it is free and it boasts a very simple, easy-to-use user interface. After launching the app, the users are provided with two options – one to turn on and off the torch, and second, to enable or disable the flashing  on incoming calls feature.

Although the developer mentioned that this app has not been optimized for ICS, the app was tested on a Samsung Galaxy S2 running Android 4.0.3.  It did work as it was supposed to, with both the torch and the blink-on-receiving-incoming-call feature working well.

To install this FlashBlink, you do have to make sure that your device is enabled to download and install third party apps. This can be done by going to Settings > Security > Allow unknown sources. You can download the app here.

With an Android device currently being used in a multitude of ways, including calls, email, SMS, Google Talk, etc., I would like to see this app incorporate LED notifications for all these features, but we can expect this extra functionality to be added in time. What are your thoughts on this app? If you have downloaded it and tried it, do let us know in the comments section below.


This article, LED Notifications are back, thanks to FlashBlink , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.


USB access comes to your Android smartphone with the Sanwa USB Reader

For those times that you’d like to transfer some files from your smartphone to your thumb drive, but you don’t have your computer handy, you can turn to the Sanwa USB Reader/Dock. This nifty little gizmo is quite handy for those on-the-go quick transfers. Your plug-in options consist of a full-size USB port, SD card slot, micro SD card slot and a micro USB port. Sanwa has conditioned this tool to work with a small portion of phones at this time including the Samsung Galaxy S2, Sony Xperia NX SO-02D, Sony Xperia arco HD IS12S, Toshiba REGZA Phone T-01D, and Sony S-series Tablet. Interested buyers can snatch one up for around $40 USD by clicking the source link below.

source: Sanwa via Everything USB