CrowdGadgets Episode 3
Download: CrowdGadgets Podcast Archive
Welcome to CrowdGadgets, the official podcast of the CrowdGather Gadget Network. The podcast is hosted by Brodie Duncan, Calob Horton, John Freml, Stuart Cope, and William Devereux. This week’s episode covers the latest news from each of the CrowdGather gadget sites: Anythingbutiphone, Anythingbutipod, Good and EVO, Nothing But Tablets, Pocketables, and StreakSmart.
Samsung’s highly anticipated Galaxy S II will finally reach the United States in a few weeks, but it won’t be available on Verizon. The largest cellular network in the US has confirmed that it will not carry a variant of the popular Samsung Galaxy S II, which has already sold more than five million units in Europe and Korea.
In other Samsung news, the company has unveiled a few of its next generation Galaxy handsets ahead of the September 1 event in Berlin. The Samsung Galaxy W will feature a 1.4GHz processor, a 13.7-inch WVGA display, and speeds of up to 14.4Mbps HSDPA. Information on the rest of the lineup will have to wait until the official event next week. As part of the announcement, the South Korean manufacturer is introducing a new naming strategy for its line of smartphones.
HTC is also holding a September 1 event, but this one will be open to the public in London. In the meantime, press shots of the HTC Omega have been leaked, showing a silvery-white Windows Phone handset. The device will reportedly sport a 3.8-inch SLCD, a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. Interestingly, the Omega might actually end up being called the HTC Radar by the time it hits stores later this fall.
BlackBerry’s QNX devices won’t be available for a while, but they will be fully compatible with Android apps when they finally hit stores. This is a smart move for Research In Motion (RIM), a company that has struggled to attract a large developer base for its BlackBerry OS. Compatibility with Android apps is good for everyone, especially BlackBerry users.
BlackBerry’s new Curve handsets won’t come with Android app compatibility, but they will include BlackBerry 7 OS, an 800MHz processor, and 512MB of RAM. All three devices–the 9350, 9360, and 9370–will come with a 2.44-inch screen and NFC chips.
Fujitsu-Toshiba has released its first Windows Phone, the IS12T, in Japan. The device is the first to come with the Mango update, which is slowly making its way to other manufacturers. The waterproof phone comes in three colors, and it is available exclusively on the KDDI network.
Zune 4.8, a necessary component of the Windows Phone Mango experience, is now available for download. The incremental update improves the backup and sync experience, in addition to adding a few handy features. This is the same version of the software given to developers in the Mango beta earlier this summer. We highly recommend checking it out.
Soundtrack of Life (SOL) Republic has announced its new headphone lineup. The in-ear Amp will run buyers about $60, with the HD edition tacking on an additional $40. The Tracks, on the other hand, cover the ears and will set customers back $100 for the normal version or $130 for the HD model.
The SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip, the follow-up to the successful Sansa Clip+, will come with a 1.1″ full color screen, a nice improvement over its predecessor’s old OLED screen. The MP3 player’s design has been updated somewhat, and the software includes new features like alphabet browsing. It’s a great update for the SanDisk fans.
Good and EVO
HTC has begun pushing out over the air (OTA) updates for the HTC EVO 4G and the HTC EVO 3D. The updates fix various issues, including problems with voice recognition, Picasa, contact transfers over Bluetooth, and much more. Interestingly, the EVO 3D’s update comes in at more than 45MB, a fairly large size for OTA standards.
Those in the market for an EVO 3D will be able to pick up a white variant exclusively at RadioShack. The hardware has remained unchanged, but something as simple as a change in color can make all the difference in the world to some people. The stark white phone will be available for purchase on September 9th.
The HTC EVO 4G was the bestselling Android phone last quarter, surpassing similar handsets on Verizon and AT&T. In fact, it was the third bestselling handset overall, just behind the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. Unfortunately, Sprint has elected to stop carrying the device in October.
But while the device is nearing the end of its shelf life, it’s not the end of the line. The HTC EVO 4G could be among the first Android devices to support OnLive cloud gaming. OnLive, for those unfamiliar with the service, allows users to stream games to their device in real time, rather than render it on local hardware. This could prove to be a very popular feature on Android.
Nothing But Tablets
HP TouchPad became the target of a worldwide firesale frenzy following last week’s well-publicized announcement that Hewlett Packard is discontinuing webOS hardware. The $99 price tag for the 16GB model was sold out practically everywhere, making it very difficult for people to get their hands on one. Some of those lucky enough to score a TouchPad are waiting for a port of Android to make its way to their new, cheap tablet.
Steve Jobs, the man who has been credited with bringing the niche tablet market to the masses with the iPad, has resigned as CEO of Apple. Although he has stepped down, he has not disappeared completely from the company. Jobs will continue to serve as Apple’s Chairman of the Board. Tim Cook has been selected to replace Steve Jobs as CEO, effective immediately.
Motorola is bringing 4G LTE to the Xoom with a hardware upgrade. Motorola will ship eligible customers a pre-paid FedEx box, allowing them to send their beloved Xoom (once it is backed up, of course) back to Motorola for a complimentary hardware upgrade. It has been a long time coming.
Tablets are finding even more use in the market, with United Continental Airlines grabbing 11,000 iPads for use by its personnel. The new iPads will save 16 million sheets of paper, which were formerly used to print maps, manuals and charts. This results in a savings of 1.2 million liters (326,000 gallons) of fuel. All of that from a 600g (1.33lb) tablet.
The BlackBerry PlayBook will finally be getting a native email client, which it has been lacking since the start. It will be able to natively connect to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) as well. Both features will be made available via a free software update in September.
Android’s browser hasn’t been exactly up to par with competing browsers on iOS and Windows Phone, as well as third-party browsers available on the Android Market. Thankfully, Google realized this and made the Android browser open source. This should allow for greater innovation.
Quality 7-inch Android tablets are hard to come by, but Sharp has broken out of the norm with its RW-T107 Android tablet, which packs Android 2.4 and NFC capabilities. The device isn’t available in the United States at the moment, but it’s a great tablet for those who can get their hands on it.
Goodbye, Dell Streak: Our beloved pocket tablet as been given the EOL (end of life) status and it is no longer available in the US. The Streak 5 hasn’t been available on Dell’s store for a while, and there have been rumors of a hardware update in its future. Unfortunately, we might have to wait for the follow-up to the Streak 5. In fact, the future of the Streak 5 outside of the US is unclear. The Streak didn’t take off in the mainstream market as we would have liked, but StreakSmart will continue to deliver all of the latest news about the Streak 5, Streak 7 and Streak 10 Pro.
The Dell Streak 7 WiFi is getting an official Honeycomb update in September. Unfortunately, the 3G/4G version is stuck with Froyo. Dell Streak 7 owners with the HoneyStreak custom ROM have had an unofficial version of Honeycomb (Android 3.x) for a few months now. But according to an anonymous tipster, an official OTA Honeycomb upgrade can be expected sometime in the next month. Whether or not the Streak 7 will continue to receive updates after Honeycomb is unknown.
Apps and Games
Bouncy Mouse is a free, addictive game available on the Android Market. It currently has 30 levels, but the developer plans to add more content in a special Christmas update later this fall.