HTC Thunderbolt finally launching on March 17th

Verizon’s first LTE handset may finally be launching on March 17th according to online retailers and internal documents. Originally scheduled to hit retail last month, the HTC Thunderbolt, which is essentially an HTC Desire HD with an added Qualcomm MDM9600 LTE radio, was apparently suffering from bad battery life because of when used in LTE mode and awaited a new software fix (radio rom I guess) from Qualcomm before being unleashed to the world.

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HTC Thunderbolt ROM available for download

Well, that didn’t take long. The Verizon HTC Thunderbolt ROM has already been leaked only a few hours after the device’s official unveiling at CES. If you have time to west or you would just like to dig deep into it to see what’s new just head over here and download it your hard drive.

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Hands On video of the upcoming Android Music Player application

The stock Android Music Player application that was briefly shown during Google I/O back in May has just been leaked to the Internet a few hours ago so I decided to shoot a quick hands-on video to show you how it looks like. First you should remember that this is no final code at all and the many features are broken or seem to be missing (especially the wireless syncing/streaming features). I’m guessing that the application was developed by the Cooliris guys who also did the stock Picture gallery application for Google more than a year ago. So I don’t really see how people are claiming that this is how the Android 3.0 / Honeycomb UI may look like… Anyway check out the video of the app running on the Samsung Galaxy S after the break (I also quickly compared it to WP7′s Zune player on the Omnia 7):

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HTC releases Android 2.2 Froyo for the HTC Wildfire, HTC Legend and Daylight Saving Time patches

This probably came as a surprise to many given the relatively low hardware specification of the device but HTC just did a nice move and release Froyo aka Android 2.2 for the HTC Wildfire which is their super low-end entry level Android handset.

Update – HTC Wildfire (Android 2.2) Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) update
Your phone will receive a notification of FOTA update when it is made available. Simply press OK to accept the update via a data connection such as Wi-Fi or GPRS/3G. After installing the update, you can confirm a successful update by confirming the Build number (From the Home Screen go to MENU> Settings> About Phone> Software Information> Build number). The new Build number after the update will be 2.22.405.1. Update: Android 2.2 update. Note?Please back up your data first before upgrading your phone. We recommend using a free Wi-Fi hotspot or an unlimited data plan to apply this update. If not, standard data connection charges may apply.

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OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark: Adreno 205 vs SGX540 / HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S

GLBenchmark 2.0 has finally been released to the public today nearly 2 years after being unveiled during MWC 2008. The opportunity was too good so I decided to run it on the HTC Desire HD and Samsung Galaxy S to compare the Qualcomm’s Adreno 205 vs the Power SGX540. I did a chart (posted below after the break) so you can compare the full detailed results of both handsets and not only the overall score. This is really important because only looking at the overall results is actually a bit misleading in this case. As you probably already know the PowerVR SGX540 is currently the fastest mobile GPU currently available in retail devices and so far nothing has come close to it (besides the Tegra 2 which is pumping out results close to the Galaxy Tab in OGLES 2.0) but Samsung is currently the only OEM shipping handsets featuring this GPU. The newest entrant is the Adreno 205 which is part of the latest MSM8255 and MSM7X30 chipset from Qualcomm and used in several HTC devices. The Adreno 205 is an updated / tweaked version of the Adreno 200 found in the original QSD8250 chipset. Anyway check out the results below:

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Google Maps 5 for Android with 3D buildings and new vector maps released: Hands-on Video

Google has just released Google Maps 5 for Android today. This new version is that one that was demonstrated by Andy Rubin last week on the prototype Motorola tablet running Android 3.0 / Honeycomb. The major new feature in this release is the inclusion of the new vectorized maps and the 3D buildings in certain cities. The user now has the ability to rotate the whole map using his two fingers and also tilt the whole view with another finger gesture. Performance on my Samsung Galaxy S was surprisingly good (compared to what we saw on the prototype tablet last week). This new version will also allow you to have offline navigation thanks to the new vector based maps. Check out my hands-on video after the break:

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LG Optimus 2X Dual-Core Tegra 2 powered Android handset officially launched

LG has officially unveiled and launched the LG Optimus 2X (also know as the LG Star) today in Seoul. The Optimus 2X is the first commercially available smartphone to feature an nVidia Tegra 2 chipset which includes a Dual-Core Cortex A9 CPU coupled with a higher clocked GPU similar to the one found in the original Tegra. The device has a 4″ WVGA LCD screen, 8GB of internal memory (expandable via the micro-sd slot), an 8 MPix camera, 1.3Mpix front facing camera, HDMI out and the ability to encode/decode 1080P videos. It will first ship with Android 2.2 but will be receive an Android 2.3 / Gingerbread update in the future. Check out the LG Optimus 2X specifications and press release after the break:

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Android Market Client update released: Hands on video and download link

Google has just announced and released an update Android Market client which features a revamped user interface and several other changes :

To streamline the browse-to-purchase experience, users can now access all the information about an application on a single page without the need to navigate across different tabs. We’re also introducing application content rating to provide users with more information about applications they are interested in. Since most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase, we will reduce the refund window on Market to 15 minutes. This change will be largely transparent to buyers, but will help developers manage their businesses more effectively.

To make it easier for developers to distribute and manage their products, we will introduce support for device targeting based on screen sizes and densities, as well as on GL texture compression formats. We are also increasing the maximum size for .apk files on Market to 50MB, to better support richer games.

I’ve just shot a short video ofthe new client in action on the Samsung Galaxy S and compare it to the old one on an HTC Desire HD:

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Samsung Galaxy S Android 2.2 Froyo JPA build software tour

I’ve shot a fairly long video demonstrating the latest official Android 2.2 Froyo firmware of the Samsung Galaxy S which is the JPA build ( a newer one has apparently leak today,the JPU build but has exactly the same Kernel). The main purpose of this video is just to show you how snappy the performance is without any Lag Fix or any other modification installed on the Phone. Samsung has definitely done a good job here and the device feels better to use compared to the original 2.1 rom (and especially the JP6 build that was later taken down). Interestingly the Six Axis Mention sensing capability of the device is now perfectly functional in Google Maps when using the Street View features (it seemed totaly broken on the JP6 build). For those who didn’t know, the Samsung Galaxy S devices have two 3 axis sensors: A SMB380 tri-axial low-gravity acceleration sensor from Bosch and an MS-3C Magnetic field Sensor by Yamaha. When you combine both sensors together you get similar results to a real 3 axis Gyroscope (but not as accurate thought). Anyway, check out the video after the break (I’m really sorry for my crappy voiceover this time, but it was relatively late when I shot the video and had to lower my voice quite a bit):

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Android 2.2 Froyo for the Samsung Galaxy S is officially released

After being up for a few days and later pulled by Samsung because of last minutes bugs the official Android 2.2 aka Froyo update for the Samsung Galaxy S is finally available via the Samsung Kies software (yeah I may be a bit late on that one,been busy with all the WP7 stuff, but I thought it would be great to post it in case some of you haven’t seen it yet). The previous JP6 build (which was taken down) has now been replaced by the JPA build (or JPO depending on your region) and for my short hands-on with it seems to be snappier and there isn’t much lag to be seen either. I will take the time to tested out tomorrow but I can already tell you that there’s no new features so you can still watch my previous video to see how it looks like. Anyway, follow the instructions after the break to upgrade your device even if it’s carrier branded (if the firmware update isn’t available to you via Kies right now):

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Super AMOLED color banding issue: Microsoft could partially fix it

I just did some more testing and am fairly sure now that everything is rendered at 16bit throughout the OS in Windows Phone 7 (similar to WM5/6). The picture you see above shows the image found in this news posted rendered in the Android browser on the Galaxy S (left) and IE Mobile on the Samsung Omnia 7 (right). Keep in mind that both devices have exactly the same Super AMOLED panel. What is evident here is that dithering is applied to the pictures on Android. All you have to do is move the page around on the Galaxy S to see that it’s activated (the color dithering) when the page is standing still but when you scroll or pan the images will look identical to the ones rendered on the Omnia 7 in IE Mobile. So what I did next is save this particular image and then open it in the picture’s browser where I know that dithering is applied once you start zooming in:

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Windows Phone 7 vs Android Browser comparison on the Samsung Omnia 7 and Galaxy S

I’ve just shot a video comparing the browsing experience on Windows Phone 7 and Android with the Samsung Omnia 7 and Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.2. I’m not really going to go into technical details here (I’ll leave this for my upcoming Windows Phone 7 review) but you will basically see how both OS’s perform when doing simple web browsing tasks. For my part I personally find Windows Phone 7 to be more user friendly and easier to use (I never really liked the fact that you always have to use the hardware menu button to access all the options on Android) but it still lacks some polish and complete landscape support (the UI is totally gone when you rotate your device..) Video after the break:

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Install Android 2.2 / Froyo now on any Samsung Galaxy S in the world even if it’s carrier branded

 

Don’t want to wait until your carrier  releases a screwed up to for your Android 2.2 rom for your Samsung Galaxy S? Well there’s a super easy solution for you. You can now flash the vanilla/unbranded Android 2.2 / Froyo rom that was released today on your carrier branded Galaxy S. All you have to do is follow some simple instructions, change some registry entries related to the Samsung Kies software and your are done. Thanks to the folks over at the XDA-devs  (via Careace) who posted the following instructions:

I don’t know if this is safe on branded, carrier locked devices.

This should be obvious but backup anything you don’t want to lose.

First uninstall all lagfixes

Start up kies and connect your phone. Wait till kies recognizes the sgs.

Go to firmware upgrade.

If it doesn’t report a JPM/JP6 upgrade close the upgrade window but do not close kies!

Go to windows start > run > and type “regedit”

Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Samsung/Kies/DeviceDB/

You will probably see a bunch of numbered keys (they look like folders) Find the key/folder that has strings that match your current firmware. So if you are on JPK look for that in the keys. If you have more than one galaxy S (it can happen) then match the imei with the phone you want to upgrade.

Change the following values so they look like this:

“SoftwareRevision”=”I9000XXJF3/I9000SWC/I9000XXJF3/I9000XXJF3″
“ProductCode”=”GT-I9000HKDXEE”
“HIDSWVER”=”I9000XXJF3/I9000SWC/I9000XXJF3/I9000XXJF3″

No go back to kies and click on firmware upgrade again. You should now see the JPM upgrade.

I’ve successfully managed to flash my carrier branded Samsung Galaxy S (SFR branded) without any problem and shot a short video to show you how the rom looks like (after the break):

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Android 2.2 / Froyo for the Samsung Galaxy S finally released

Samsung has finally released the official Froyo /Android 2.2 update for the Galaxy S today, exactly one month later than it was originally scheduled/promised to launch. Unfortunately if you have a carrier branded device you will have to wait a bit longer for you mobile operator to screw a bit with the rom and release it. Thankfully the wait is apparently worth it according to the list of new features and bug fixes announced by Samsung:

•Android 2.2 JIT compiler
•Adobe Flash Player 10.1 compatibility
•New Android Market with auto-updating
•Speed improvements
•Pinch-to-zoom homescreen flyover
•Improved default keyboard
•Quick links to “GPS” and “Auto rotation” toggles on notification bar added
•Slightly different graphics and transitions with app drawer and default icon dock
•Colored icons in settings
•GPS Fix
•Colored settings icons
•Media Hub
•Darker menu theme, navy blue color
•Better Exchange support
•Video records in MP4 format
•New Search widget
•New Gmail application

Full Press Release after the break:

Continue reading Android 2.2 / Froyo for the Samsung Galaxy S finally released →

HTC Merge preview and benchmark

Today’s a relatively slow news day so I’m going to post some HTC Merge related sotries here. The HTC Merge (also know as the HTC Lexikon) is the Dual-mode (GSM-CDMA) version of the HTC Desire Z launching on Verizon in the coming weeks. AndroidCentral managed to scoop one of the devices and posted a quick preview which also includes a video of the device’s 800Mhz MSM7630 chipset being benchmarked. The Adreno 205 GPU can be seen crunching out some really nice numbers which is nice to see but probably a little bit depressing if you are planning on getting a Windows Phone 7 device this fall (All WP7 devices are rumored to have the QSD8250 chiosetwiththe rgular Adreno 200 GPU).

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Verizon HTC Merge aka HTC Lexikon shows up in live pictures

BGR managed to snap a couple of pictures of the Verizon HTC Merge which is also know as the HTC Lexikon. The Dual-Mode (CDMA and GSM) Android 2.2 is probably going to be the CDMA version of the HTC Desire Z that was announced no long ago so you can expect it to have similar specifications including the MSM7x30 chipset. More pictures after the break:

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Samsung Captivate to receive GPS fix soon. Froyo at the end of the month in Europe

Samsung has just announced via Twitter that the Samsung Captivate (AT&T’s version of the Galaxy S) will sonn receive a fix for the GPS issues that has been affecting all the Galaxy S models:

GPS + other improvements for Samsung ATT Captivate are HERE! Today – next few weeks OTA notification will be sent to customers!

Other Galaxy S devices like the Samsung Fascinate and Vibrant (and the European models) will get the fix later one:

In regards to updates from our other Carrier partners, we are working diligently to release these improvements as well!

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Verizon HTC Lexikon aka P4210 specifications revealed

Remember the Verizon HTC P4210 that passed the FCC a couples of days ago? Well it is apparently condemaned the HTC Lexikon and has the following specifications which look simmilar to the recently announced T-Mobile G2 and HTC Desire Z :

- 3.8″ WVGA screen
- MSM7630 SoC clocked @ 800Mhz
- 512 Mb of Ram
- Android 2.2
- 5Mp camera (with flash?)
- 4Gb of Flash
- Slide-out Qwerty Keyboard

 
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Video hands-on with the HTC Desire HD Rom on the HTC HD2

I’ve just finished shooting a short hands-on video of the recently released HTC Desire HD Rom for the HTC HD2. You will see that it runs relatively smoothly (it isn’t super fast but no slow either) and that all the major functionalities of the OS are up and running. I should point out that the browser is still buggy and crashes 90% of the time on my HTC HD2 after a few minutes (I can no longer load any page on pan/zoom/navigate). Wifi still isn’t working (on my handset) and the Camera isn’t supported either (but the flash works). Also keep in mind that it takes a while to boot the OS for the first time (nearly 10 minutes and that it isn’t supper responsive afterwards either (it can sometimes take up to 10 secs to come out of sleep when I hit a hardware button). The Battery is drained super fast too. Check it out after the break:

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