Archive for category Android

Android announces more devices to get Ice Cream Sandwich

Samsung mobile and tablets users can now check to see if their device is next in line to receive Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich software update.

Ice Cream Sandwich coming to more devices soon

 AT&T customer using the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Captivate Glide, and Nexus S smartphones are slated to get the software update as well as Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy users.

Mobile users with Verizon with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be getting a bite of Ice Cream Sandwich.

It’s a little unclear what devices with T-Mobile and Sprint will be getting the Android update. However, Samsung claims it has been working with both carriers to decide which devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich.

While there is no specific time frame on when these carries and devices will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich, Samsung is confident the updates will be available in the new future.

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Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II

Although Wisconsin residents can’t experience AT&T’s LTE network quite yet, we were still eager to get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II. The 4.5-inch touch screen with AMOLED Plus display runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and comes with an 8-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

My initial reaction when handling the Skyrocket was I couldn’t believe how light it was. I expected the Skyrocket to be comparable to the HTC Titan, which felt like a brick in my hand. The light plastic cover probably has a lot to do it. Though light, this mobile isn’t a great phone to have an “oops” moment with.

Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II

Aside from the hardware, the AMOLED Plus display on the Skyrocket is outstanding with vibrant colors and sharp images. While I’ve seen several mobiles with better resolution, it’s been on bigger and heavier phones. The screen is also responsive to taps and swipes, but not overly sensitive where you’ll be pocket dialing everyone in your phonebook.

The screen also has a few bonus features. When the right settings are activated, you can flip the phone over to mute it, and you can tilt to zoom in and out with two fingers on the screen. I’m not convinced these features make the phone that much more useful, but they are nice extras.

The biggest disappointment with the Skyrocket II is the limited availability of LTE networks. Without an LTE network in Wisconsin, it’s difficult to fully experience the Skyrocket II. Though even in Wisconsin, where we are still on 3G, the phone quickly loaded web pages and applications.

The user friendliness of the Skyrocket II may be an issue for some users as well. I would recommend the Skyrocket to existing smartphone users and steer non tech savvy users (aka Mom and Dad) towards a different phone.

Though just because LTE networks are not available in Wisconsin doesn’t mean I would write off the Skyrocket II. It’s one of my favorites as far as mega-screen mobiles go. You can check out the Skyrocket II at AT&T for $199 with a two-year contract.

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Tech Blog Review: Motorola Electrify

After trying out Motorola’s power pack yesterday, we thought we’d see what the Motorola Electrify was all about. The Motorola Electrify from US Cellular is a 4.3 inch touch screen mobile phone running on an Android platform. Overall I would say the Electrify is a great entry level phone for someone who may be new to smartphones.

Motorola Electrify

The Electrify is a user-friendly smartphone with a no-fuss touch screen. I actually could see my non tech savvy parents being able to handle this phone with relative ease (though my mother’s first encounter with an Android phone was a disaster).  While texting and phones calls are simple with the Electrify, it still includes all the bells and whistles you want in a smartphone. Amazon Kindle, social networking sites, email, video chat and web browsing are all available. The Electrify is noticeably lighter than the iPhone 4s which may appeal to someone looking for a less bulky phone.

Though easy to use, the Electrify has a couple underwhelming qualities.  The camera is just average and may not be the best fit for someone wanting to take a lot of pictures and video. Aside from the camera, web browsing seemed slower than recent phones I’ve tried out. Depending how important these features are to you, the Electrify may be worth looking into.

The Motorola Electrify is a good fit for someone looking to for an easy to use smartphone but doesn’t really need high-speed browsing or the best camera. I like the screen size and would even recommend it to my parents. The Electrify is a good phone for Motorola as they’ve struggled after the RAZR hey-day. As someone who is in the market for a new phone, this phone has definitely peaked my interest.

If you’re interested in the Motorola Electrify, you can pick up the phone from US Cellular for $99 after a $100 mail-in rebate. It’s a great price for someone in the market for a new smartphone and worth checking out.

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Take Windows for a test drive on your iPhone or Android

Though you may have sworn your allegiance to Apple long ago, are you still a little curious how Windows would operate on your iPhone? What if you could try out a Windows-running phone without having to go to the store with a sales person watching your every move? Curious folks are in luck: Android and iPhone users can actually take Windows for a joy ride by downloading a demo version straight to their phone. 

The demo lets you try all the main features including phone, people, messaging, Outlook and photos. I had a brief encounter with a Window running phone recently when I reviewed the HTC Titan from AT&T and found that I really liked the Windows operating system on a phone. If you’re interested in an OS that is aesthetically appealing, it’s worth trying out.

It may not be enough to sway diehard Apple users to buy a Windows phone, but it definitely has users like me thinking about making my next phone one with a Windows operating system.

If you’re interested in the demo, you don’t have to Google. Just click here.

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Tech Review: HTC Flyer

We recently got our hands on the HTC Flyer from US Cellular. The younger sister to the HTC Jetstream from AT&T (read our review), its 7-inch screen fits easily in one and is similar in size to your average e-reader. Though small, the HTC still has email, social networking applications and an internet browsing capabilities just like the bigger tablets on the market.

After using the HTC Flyer for some time, I believe the biggest draw to the Flyer is also its biggest setback. The size of the HTC Flyer allows it to be easily tucked away in a small bag or carry on, making it a perfect choice for someone on the go a lot. But after using it for awhile, zooming in and out of web pages on the small screen got tiring. If you’re looking for a tablet for more casual use, my suggestion would be to invest in one with a bigger screen such as the HTC Jetstream or the iPad. I was also disappointed when the internet browser wouldn’t allow me to stream Pandora in one window and continue browsing in another.

I did enjoy the Flyer’s dual front and back camera that made it easy to snap photos. The Flyer’s small size works to its advantage again as it could be easily taken to a family get together or party. The HTC Flyer also allows you to edit and crop your photos before you post them to your favorite social networking site or email them to a friend.

The HTC Flyer is available at US Cellular stores for $399 after a $100 rebate. Though we think the HTC Flyer would be a good choice for someone on the go, we would be to make the extra investment in a bigger tablet like the HTC Jetstream or the iPad.

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Tech Blog Review – The HTC Jetstream: Should you jump in this current?

The answer is yes. The HTC Jetstream is rapidly making its way through the tablet market. This tablet is the first to run on AT&T’s new LTE network.

The Good: With a 10.1” display and aluminum backing, the HTC Jetstream is built with quality. What sets the HTC Jetstream tablet apart is its rear and front-facing camera and video capabilities. Its photos have amazing clarity and quality. They turn out great, especially when viewed on such a large screen. It is the ideal tablet for photographers, artists, etc.

For the music lovers out there, like myself, the HTC Jetstream has not one but two speakers the back that allows for a more crisper and accurate sound. The speakers even have a sub-woofer.

Its sleek and minimalistic appearance matches its modern technical capabilities. As the first tablet to use HTC Sense with Honeycomb, the next version of the Android software, this software has been specifically designed for devices with larger screens. Its touch-screen capability is swift and easy to maneuver. With just one swipe horizontally across the screen, you can access all five screens.

The Bad: There has been a lot of criticism regarding its expensive price and the limited 4G LTE availability, which is currently not accessible in Wisconsin. But with future 4G LTE rollouts, this will be less of an issue. AT&T’s LTE is only available in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

The HTC Jetstream is $699.99 with a two-year contract through local Wisconsin AT&T stores and online at Limited 4G LTE availability is in select markets.

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One, Two, Three, Four… I Declare a Thumb War

Wise advice, don’t challenge Austin Wierschke in a virtual thumb war.  This 16-year-old Rhinelander teen now has the fastest thumbs in the nation. Beating out 12 other contestants on Wednesday, October 26 in New York City, Wierschke won the 2011 LG U.S. National Texting Championship.

Contestants competed on the unreleased DoublePlay Android phone by LG. Tested for his speed and accuracy on this split keyboard and dual screen phone, Wierschke proved unstoppable. Distractions, such as blindfolds and dark rooms, were used throughout the event; however, nothing was able to throw off Wierschke’s focus.

Taking first place, Wierschke walked away with not only the $50,000 grand prize, but most likely, some pretty sore thumbs.

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