Archive for the ‘Around the Net’ Category

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

It’s hard to believe this is what Android looked like two years ago. It’s a testament to how far it’s come that Android 2.3 Gingerbread is focused on making it feel good more than anything else.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

Specs
Version: Android 2.3
Phones: Nexus S, for now
When you can get it: Over the next couple months
Price: Free update

Android has evolved more aggressively, more rapidly than any other mobile platform. But now it’s reached a point of maturity, and you can see that in Gingerbread: The newness in Android 2.3 is all about refinement. Not new features or functions or just stuff. It’s Android where Google’s slowed down and taken the time to think about how it looks and feels and responds.

The irony, of course, is that most of the careful design work that’s gone into Android 2.3 won’t ever be seen by a large portion of Android users. The definitive Android design won’t be experienced by people who own phones covered in custom software. There’s only a handful of Android phones in the US where you’ll be able to get the real Android experience—Nexus One, T-Mobile G2 and the Nexus S—even though it’s unquestionably better than anything phone makers are conjuring up themselves these days.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

The core Android experience is largely unchanged from Android 2.2: Everything works just about the same. What’s different? It’s smoother, faster, and for the first time, it feels like one person actually designed the Android interface. There are details! The orange glow when you hit the end of a list. The old boob-tube-style shutoff whenever the screen turns off. They’re little things, but they add up to a phone that just feels better—even when the occasional rough spot still pops up in Android (and they do). And half the battle with an interface is making it feel great. (This is why, for all its flaws, people dig Windows Phone 7.) The speed improvements over 2.2, while subtle, make a difference. It’s the first time Android’s really approached iPhone 4-level responsiveness. On the other hand, it’s somewhat unreal it’s taken over two years to have the finer things in smartphone life on Android.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

Speed, speed, speed. Still loving the new hyperflat, orange-and-green-and-black interface after several days—it makes me think of Tron. Things like the Downloads app to collect everything I’ve downloaded. The new keyboard doesn’t make me want to drill my fingers through the glass anymore. Android is still the most connected-feeling mobile OS around, by leaps and bounds. Major components—like Gmail and Maps—are broken up so they can be updated individually instead of having to wait for the next major OS push.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake
Still a little too confusing and PC-like for some people, even if it does look spiffier. The Market’s not much better to dig through. No native video chat! Crazy! Especially considering that Google’s got Google Talk and that the new definitive Android device has a front-facing camera. Android media experience is still pretty weak compared to the iPhone, from getting music on there (sorry, drag and drop is not media management) to the better-but-still-mediocre music player (just because I can download WinAmp doesn’t excuse Android’s native app’s suckage).

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Review: Better Than Fruitcake

Android 2.3 is almost exactly where Android needs to be to take the next step: The fundamentals, the vision, the polish (mostly) are there, finally. Now it’s time for all of the amazing things Google’s promised next.

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Is This Motorola's Dual-Core Olympus Phone?

Read the article at Gizmodo.

What’s it like in Area 51?

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Around the Net, Misc

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel to planet Earth and stay at the lovely Area 51? Well, now you can read te reviews of what extra terestrials think of it!  Read them at Google Maps

Is Android an Ugly Platform?

Posted: November 22, 2010 in Around the Net

Is Android an Ugly Platform?The path to Android for a “very successful iOS game development shop” might be “skipping the Android Market entirely” in favor of deals to be bundled on select handsets, according to John Gruber. Is the Android ecosystem that ugly?

What that developer’s considering is pretty wild, if you think about it. The consensus is that Android is the top-selling smartphone platform in the US now. That’s due in no small part to the fact that there’s a ton of Android devices, available on every major carrier. And Android’s just going to get bigger. But this developer is considering intentionally limiting themselves to just a small fraction of the number of Android phones out there—limiting the number of copies they could sell.

Why? Because it would allow to them to develop their titles without worrying about gaps in OS updates from certain manufacturers (which could limit future functionality), dealing with lower-powered handsets, and—perhaps most notably—without wondering where the money would come from. Though the meme is perhaps self-perpetuating at this point, it seems to be the case that, on the whole, Android users are less willing to pay for apps. (Consider: Angry Birds has managed to sell millions upon millions of copies on iOS for 99 cents a pop, but the developers went the ad-supported route on Android.)

Doesn’t it strike you as a little crazy that an already successful developer is taking their time to figure out how to best launch on the fastest-selling smartphone platform in the US—and potentially foregoing a lot of business—because of potential issues with the platform? (A sad but necessary note: I don’t hate Android. But I am asking a serious question about it.) [Daring Fireball via Gizmodo]

First Dual-Core Phone Leaks from LG With Android and 1080p Video Camera

Engadget has received a leaked photo of LG’s 4-inch Tegra 2-toting Android “Star” phone, which will join their flagship Optimus line-up with an 8MP camera (1080p video recording) and forward-facing camera. [Engadget via Gizmodo]


This is it. The Galaxy Tab is the first Android tablet meant for humans. But is it actually fit for humans? No. [Read the review at Gizmodo]


Thought you guys might enjoy this. It’s a new Android phone from SONY. If you are in the market for a SONY phone, and want an Android, then this looks like it’s probably your best bet.

You can see it over at Gizmodo.