Android Powered Gadgets Announced at CES 
Android Apps

Android Powered Gadgets Announced at CES 

As anticipated, CES 2012 was awash with Android gizmos and gadgetry. The floor was a sea of Android tablets touting Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and quad-core processors, not to mention mountains of high spec Android phones. Not only was there news of smartphones and tablets to expect in 2012 however, but there was also a whole bunch of other nifty Android devices to look forward to, including smart cameras and smartwatches.

As 2011 ended we were already well aware that 2012 would be the year of the camera phone; we say camera phone as the very essence of these devices is the camera and the phone seems almost secondary. About time too. Although smartphone cameras have been continually improving, there has still been a need to have a secondary dedicated camera. Up until now!

The first camera phone on the horizon at the end of last year was Panasonic Lumix 101P. We still have a while to wait before this one is released in the UK (Easter maybe?), but it’s safe to say that its specs are impressive throughout.

Announced at CES was Sony’s first solo venture into Android (without their usual partner ‘Ericsson’),  Sony Xperia S. As smartphones go, this one certainly packs a punch in the camera stakes, boasting a fantastic 12 MP beastie.

CES, however, unveiled a new Android phenomenon, the Android Smart Camera. Kodak’s Polaroid SC1630 smart camera was unveiled at CES 2012.

Similarly, last year saw a few smartwatches making their way onto the Android market, including the rather impressive and bringing i’mWatch. Since then Android smartwatches seem to be the new buzzword in a useful fashion, and Sony Ericsson announced their own at CES. Are they all they’re cracked up to be? We’ll just have to see.

Kodak Polaroid SC1630 Android Camera Phone

Whether Polaroid SC1630 is a dual Android smart camera/smartphone remains to be seen. The confusion seems to surround this Kodak product that was announced at CES. The main consensus seems to veer towards it being purely a smart camera at this point, with the advantage of Android and Android apps. We’re sure, even if it is the case that there’s no phone on this smart camera, we’re sure the added benefit of Android (think Netflix, Angry Birds, etc) will more than suffice the avid photographer… just don’t forget your smartphone.

Smart Camera Specs

Whether Polaroid SC1630 is a camera phone or simply a camera, it’s exciting to see a little healthy competition emerging on the smart camera front, in the form of Kodak’s Polaroid SC1630. As well as packing a hugely impressive – for those of you where every pixel counts – 16 MP CCD sensor, it’s also one of the only phones to have optical zoom onboard its camera. 3x optical zoom on a 36-108 mm lens to be precise.

It isn’t hard to see where the confusion arises from, as Polaroid SC1630 looks like any other smartphone, albeit with one hell of snapper on the rear, and has a 3.2-inch capacitive home screen and notification bar. In other words, other than the lack of a phone, it’s used in just the same way as an Android phone.

Upload all of your photos to Facebook etc with just the click of a button. There is a microSD memory card slot, up to 32 GB, to store your treasured pics too.

Weirdly, there seems to be no 3G support on Polaroid SC1630, but rather an EDGE, and video recording may be limited to only 720p. There is, however, full WiFi connectivity which allows you to download Android apps from over 40,000 in Google Android Market.

It’s also seeming unlikely that Polaroid SC1630 will come armed with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

It is expected that Polaroid SC1630 will be released sometime in 2012, although exact dates and prices are as yet unknown. We’re sure there will be plenty of keen snappers salivating at this news! Take a look at the YouTube video below courtesy of AndroidCentral.

IDAPT – A Truly Universal Docking Speaker

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Looking for Android Tablets for Xmas 2011 - Just Don't Buy a Turkey!
Android Apps

Looking for Android Tablets for Xmas 2011 – Just Don’t Buy a Turkey!

Christmas is racing towards us, there is nowhere to hide, it’s definitely going to happen whether you’re ready or not! If like the majority of the UK, Europe, and America, you’re suffering cash flow issues due to the economic climate, with prices rising for almost every essential living expense and little or no money to cover the costs, it’s essential you make the correct choices when present buying.

There is bound to be a list long enough to circle Earth numerous times requesting Android smartphones/tablets this Christmas. If your cherished family member will be lucky to be receiving such a device from yours truly, we implore you to do your homework meticulously before you make an expensive purchase that may end up a complete turkey.

At this seasonal time of year, almost every advert on TV, every newspaper, or magazine, is saturated with must-buy bargains at unbelievable knock-down prices. It’s human nature to begin to salivate at such offers and make a mad dash to the high street to snap up this mega bargain or to enter your card details online before the item is sold out, and all before you have time to think clearly. Stop. Take a breather, have a cuppa, a cold shower if you have to, but do not buy on impulse.

Once you’ve stopped perspiring and your heart rate has steadied, take the time to analyze the offer and maybe acquire a second opinion. Is the item in question what you think it is? Did you read the details correctly or did your eager grey matter make its own assumptions?

Xmas Turkey Example

Heavenly Android is not proud and does not feel at all clever to admit that we almost went through the exact scenario described above just this weekend. As we were happily chilling in front of the TV, an advert flashed before our eyes. We could not believe what we were seeing and were almost hyperventilated as we prepared to jump in our car and exceed the speed limit in our attempt to capture the prize.

The source of our excitement was the Archos G9 80 tablet, slashed to half price in HMV, from £249.99 to £129.99. Wow, what an amazing find! We had only recently written about the tablet in question, and we had to have it. Or so we thought.

We decided to investigate further before we committed ourselves. We discovered that in our eagerness our brains had deceived us. We, in fact, weren’t looking at the tablet we thought we were. It was a completely different model; an older, flawed model, namely Archos 101 Internet Tablet. Before you ask, no, we were not even remotely tipsy at this point. We realize they don’t even slightly resemble each other!

End of Line

If we had gone with our initial impulse and snapped up the offer at HMV (which incidentally has expired), we would have been sorely disappointed. Instead of the brand spanking new Archos G9 80, with its impressive specs, we would have ended up with a clearance, end of line item, that will soon be no more use than a chocolate teapot.

Archos 101 Internet Tablet has many faults: It runs Android 2.2 (Froyo) and is unlikely to enjoy an update. Tablets are optimally for running 3.1 ( Honeycomb). Google Android Market does not come as standard on this device. Slow CPU. Is glitchy and freezes whilst watching videos. Rumored not to support Flash. In short, a shadow of the item we thought we were seeing. Archos seems to be rather confusing with its range of tablets, just as plenty of other technology companies’ goods are confusing also. It pays to do your research, take time to decide which specifications you need in the item, which you can live without, and most importantly, don’t compromise just to save a few quid.

Conclusion

In short, check and triple-check what you’re buying, especially when you’ve spied a deal you can’t resist. Expect, as the old chestnut goes, to get what you pay for. Where technology is concerned it is likely that a sale item is outdated and possibly soon to be unsupported. In the case of Android tablets, you …

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Froyo 2.2. Downloaded and Raring to Go
Android Apps Samsung

Froyo 2.2. Downloaded and Raring to Go

On the First Day of Xmas HTC sent Froyo 2.2 Update for Wildfire

So your Frozen Yoghurt treatment has been applied to your HTC Wildfire. Far from dampening the fire, we are all hoping that this update fuels Wildfire. But what do we do now? Most things look almost the same; are you trying to figure out what has changed and where? This is why I will be examining the ingredients that make the delicious Frozen Yoghurt that is now installed.

On the Second Day of Xmas HTC sent App to SD for Wildfire

One of the first things that I wanted straight away was to implement the app to the sd ability my phone had now acquired, enabling my internal phone memory to be freed up a little as apps were moved to a memory card. I chose to download the fantastic App 2 SD application from Google Market.

Once this has been installed onto your phone it is simply a case of opening the app, after it has compiled a list of your apps that can be moved to sd you are good to go. Simply look under the ‘phone tab’ for the app that you wish to move and tap this app; you will then be given the choice to move to an sd card. Very simple and intuitive, you can manage your apps completely from here, choosing to move apps back across to phone memory, and uninstall or clear data. If you wish to move all compatible apps to sd (note; not all apps are compatible to move to sd at present) just press the menu and choose ‘Move all apps’.Choosing to use App 2 SD is also useful as it can be set to monitor apps so that when they are installed and can be moved to SD, a notification appears. A very easy way of seeing at a glance which apps can be moved.

On the Third Day of Christmas HTC didn’t send Live Wallpapers

As many of you have been anticipating live wallpapers once you have the Froyo 2.2 update on your Wildfire I have to be the bearer of bad news I’m afraid. Live wallpapers are not supported on HTC Wildfire and probably never will due to Wildfire’s CPU processor (528 MHz). It is just not powerful enough to support this feature in a way that works well.

It seems that the final decision here (to disable live wallpapers) was made by HTC, and in a sense understandably so as it is a huge drain on battery life. Of course, when there is something you cannot do there will always be a workaround and this is true in this case. There is lots of advice on the web on ways to do this, some of which are covered on xda-developers website. I would love to hear from anyone who has managed to get live wallpapers working on their HTC Wildfire; until then I will manage without.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas HTC sent Lots of Lovely Widgets

A nice advantage you get with Froyo 2.2 installed on your Wildfire is a much wider choice of lovely widgets, which incidentally iPhone users don’t have the pleasure of using. Of course, your choice of compatible apps available from Google Market will increase tenfold.

To check out your new widgets for yourself:

Go to the + sign next to Phone at the bottom of your home screen;

  1. Tap – Widget
  2. Tap – Get more HTC widgets
  3. Press – menu
  4. Tap – Update
  5. Tap – (widget of choice)
  6. Tap – Download
  7. From home screen repeat step 1 and step 2, and then repeat step 6
  8. Tap – Select (only needed if there are a few versions of the chosen widget)
  9. Install on the chosen home screen.

Scroll through until you find the widget of choice such as Sand Timer and install. I always wanted the sand timer widget while I was waiting for the Froyo 2.2 update as my partner had already got it on his Desire and it was just so damn handy when timing food etc. There is also a mad as a hatter Fake Call widget available as from Dec …

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Demand HTC Wildfire Receives Froyo 2.2 Update!
Android Apps

Demand HTC Wildfire Receives Froyo 2.2 Update!

Is the Wildfire Froyo 2.2 Update a Myth

I am rather annoyed, to put it very mildly, at the dismissive attitude HTC has towards its HTC Wildfire customers. Yes, HTC Wildfire is their entry-level smartphone. Yes, it is rather less expensive than its big brother ‘Desire‘. Yes, it has a smaller CPU processing speed than Desire (528 MHz compared to 1GHz), a lower resolution screen, a 5-megapixel camera compared to Desire’s 8 megapixels, and all of this sums up the reason why the price is so much lower. But this does not mean we should be treated like buffoons, lesser individuals, unworthy of anticipated updates that have been dangled like a carrot on a stick, taunting us for far too long. HTC Wildfire is one of HTC’s newest offerings, only being released in June, and it is anticipated as being one of the must-haves this Xmas. Although I do not expect this phone to be supported forever, the Froyo 2.2 update should not even be questioned, it should be 100% definite.

I rather think that we are being served a large portion of unforgivable injustice that leaves a bitter taste on our tongues and we need to lobby this matter, demand that we receive Froyo 2.2 and quickly. As it stands, from my observations of android forums, frustrations are running extremely high, we want to be able to access all the apps not available on 2.1 and more importantly, we want the ability to store them easily to sd card with the app to sd capability of Froyo 2.2. There may be other ways of enabling the app to sd such as rooting your phone and following other procedures but this is not a path I am willing to walk down. It’s all very nice that the HTC Wildfire has the ability to support a 32 GB memory card, but unless we are total music, photo, and video freaks what on earth are we going to do with that amount of space?

I feel that my phone is rendered almost useless and loses the ‘right’ to be classed as a smartphone without this ability, it becomes more of a ‘crippled’ smartphone. I need to be able to store as many apps as I like as I review them on my blog, but even if this was not the case I haven’t enough internal memory space for the apps I want to keep for myself. Also, I would like my phone to run just that bit faster with Froyo 2.2 than it runs with Eclair 2.1. Besides this, there are a host of other features we are missing out on whilst we wait in limbo as they play a weird kind of guessing game with us, such as wifi tethering, and the list goes on.

If HTC wishes to develop an army of brand loyal android users they really ought to think of addressing this gigantic issue otherwise we will address it for them by taking our customs and money elsewhere. After all, the phones we have at present are no better than a digital camera with nowhere to put a memory card and limited internal storage.

I don’t believe we should be given standard responses to inquiries that we take the effort to send to HTC, almost always the same as the one I received this morning.

***

With regards to your query, at the moment there is no confirmation on when or if the wildfire will be receiving the 2.2 updates. I can advise you to keep checking our website for any updates in the future.

Sincerely, Georgina

***

So I am asking for your support in my campaign to lobby HTC and get a definite answer, rather than being forced to play this cat and mouse game. I intend to gain support in the form of a poll and any supporting comments you wish to post, after which I intend to write a physical letter to the HTC headquarters, to the person in the highest position with the link to the gathered support. I would like to be able to send the letter within a couple of weeks so this really needs to be speedy. As soon as I have received …

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