Google has historically broken out preloaded Android apps like Gmail and Maps as stand-alone titles so that they don't have to be upgraded in lock-step with the main OS, but its Calendar app typically hasn't had that privilege. The isolation ends with a newly distinct Google Calendar that's treated as just another Google Play download. You'll need at least Android 4.0 or 4.1, which leaves relatively few differences between the download and what's already on your device, but that's not the point -- the change really lets Google move users on to the Jelly Bean app and beyond, even if their device makers aren't ready. Owners currently running Jelly Bean will still get a few extras, such as better support for non-Nexus hardware and a wider time range for calendar syncing. Hit the source link if you're game for that kind of futureproofing.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
We were intrigued by Sony's Xperia V back at IFA, but deals with specific carriers haven't been very forthcoming. Japan's KDDI is covering that gap by pledging to carry Sony's mid-size Android 4.0 phone as the Xperia VL. Everything we know and (mostly) love about the dust- and water-resistant phone is intact, including that thin sensor-on-lens 720p display, the 13-megapixel camera, the 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4, NFC and LTE-based 4G. The one question remaining is a definitive release date: Sony will only promise an Xperia VL launch before the end of the year, although there's talk at Impress Watch of a release on November 2nd for ¥30,000 ($381) after carrier discounts. Let's hope for the company's sake that other carriers sign up for the V and VL sooner rather than later.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Americans won't get to keep the Galaxy Rugby Pro all to themselves. As long as internal documents gleaned by MobileSyrup prove true, Bell should be carrying Samsung's ruggedized 4G phone as the Galaxy Rugby LTE on November 1st. Other than the name change, it's likely to be a match for the AT&T version down to the very wide frequency support we saw at the FCC, when it appeared as the SGH-i547. You're looking at a modest 4-inch screen, 768MB of RAM and 5-megapixel rear camera, but also a quick 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.0 and that dust- and waterproof body. Pricing is an unknown, although the partly toned-down features imply that the Galaxy Rugby LTE will skew well below the $160 contract price for a Galaxy S III on Bell's network.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
We knew it was coming -- we just didn't expect official news quite so soon. T-Mobile has confirmed that its edition of the LG Optimus L9 will be available this fall. The magenta network's supersized yet entry level Android 4.0 phone won't be significantly different than its international cousin in hardware outside of the necessary 3G frequency switch, but the American GSM variant will support WiFi Calling, allow five-device hotspots and ship with a preloaded copy of Slacker Radio. Any pricing and an in-store date will have to wait; even with that 4.5-inch screen and 2,150mAh battery, though, it's easy to picture the L9 costing less than many of T-Mobile's smaller smart devices.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
We've had the unexpected early opportunity to try what should be a production-grade Huawei Ascend P1 LTE -- early enough that the phone has yet to formally ship to its initial carrier. While we've seen hints of the 4G model towards the start of the year, what's landing in our hands is at least different than devices like the original Ascend P1, P1 S and P1 XL; months of extra engineering time, the LTE chipset and that bigger 2,000mAh battery have clearly had an effect. But by how much? Read on past the break for a quick tour of the refreshed design.
Gallery: Huawei Ascend P1 LTE hands-on
Fans of both Android and Slingbox streaming have had a long wait for a significant update to the SlingPlayer app, to put it mildly -- the last major upgrade was to introduce Kindle Fire support at the start of the year. Imagine our delight when Sling Media posts a pair of low-key but significant updates for Android phone and tablet users alike. Smartphone owners get the most out of the upgrade with a new electronic program guide, a fresher overall look and better high-quality video for any phone using Android 4.0 and beyond. Tablet users do get a more optimized interface for the Nexus 7, however, and both form factors will let avid placeshifters remind themselves when a much-anticipated show goes live in the future. Neither of the updates is a complete revolution, but we would say they're coming just in time.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Few of us who live outside of Asia or Eastern Europe know the potential convenience of a dual SIM phone. Own one and you can globetrot, or else keep separate home and work lines without the bulk of an extra device in the pocket. Sony is gambling that enough Americans have that multi-line desire by selling the Xperia tipo dual and its regular, single-SIM counterpart in the US as unlocked GSM models. Neither of the Android 4.0 phones is what we'd call a powerhouse with the same 3.5-inch screen, 3.2-megapixel camera and 800MHz Snapdragon inside, but both can latch on to HSPA 3G on AT&T, refarmed T-Mobile coverage and 2100MHz carriers abroad, even if the single-SIM tipo curiously has 900MHz 3G support that the tipo dual lacks. It's undoubtedly price that Sony is counting on more than anything: at respective contract-free prices of $180 and $190 for the tipo and tipo dual, the pair of Xperias may be sold most often as travel-only phones for the jet set.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Good news: Cellcom is offering its first-ever LTE phone on September 21st, in what will no doubt be one of the carrier's biggest phone launches of the year. Only it's not what you think. While Cellcom is indeed picking up the iPhone 5 soon, its major device launch this week is the HTC Desire 4G LTE, its rebranding of Verizon's Droid Incredible 4G LTE. Other than the lack of Big Red badging and apps, it's a match for the mid-tier Android 4.0 handset on the larger (and shared) network. Buying one will even cost the same $150 on contract, or $420 at full price. Much to our relief, though, Cellcom isn't leaving us with one 4G phone per platform. The provider should start selling a relabeled Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, the $200 RAZR MAXX 4G LTE, at an unspecified point in the near future. Let's hope for better timing with the second wave of releases.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Something big has been brewing at HTC, most often referred to as the DLX or by its less-than-flattering 6435LVW name. While there have been unconfirmed photos of prototypes floating around, a Sina Weibo user has posted what we have reason to believe is an authentic press image of the finished result: meet the One X 5. As the name and image suggest, the phablet-class device should be dominated by a 5-inch (and possibly 1080p) screen that makes even a regular One X look dainty. Internal details haven't been nailed down alongside the looks, although previous benchmarks have had it using a Snapdragon S4 that might ultimately be a quad-core S4 Pro. There's no immediate signs of a stylus or other tricks besides that sea of glass. We may not have long to wait before we find out, however. HTC just happens to have a New York City event planned for this Wednesday, and previously detected links between the 6435LVW and Verizon could see the One X 5 quickly reach the US if it's meant to show at that gathering -- although it might get another name change to fit into the Droid family.
Update: We've been given a heads-up that this is a device posted as a "concept" by Danny Tu on Flickr, which raises doubt that we'll see exactly what's on show here (or see that name). However, it still lines up with earlier photos and what we've heard. We'll keep you posted as to whether or not it reflects reality in the end.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Hardware keyboard fans must feel like they're part of an endangered species -- there's greater uncertainty these days about software updates, let alone new smartphones. If you're part of that persecuted group, AT&T and Samsung have your back: they've just started rolling out Android 4.0 for the Captivate Glide. All of the features will be familiar if you've borrowed someone's Galaxy S II in the past few months, although it's hard to object to the better multitasking and support for Chrome. About the only catch is the need to use Kies to grab the update, but that's a small sacrifice we're sure many are willing to make.Permalink | | Email this | Comments