While Intel’s processors have dominated the PC and laptop market for years now, their presence in mobile has been quite abysmal. Aside from one carrier device, the Orange San Diego which was launched earlier this year, Intel is nowhere to be seen, leaving the mobile field empty for the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia to battle it out.
However, the situation is about to change — at least this is Intel’s hope. Thanks to a recent multi-year and multi-device partnership with Motorola, Intel is looking forward to flipping the ship around and bringing some disruption to the current status-quo.
Two days ago, in London, we got to see the first result of this partnership: the Motorola Droid RAZR i. Looking very similar to the RAZR M that was announced earlier, the RAZR i boasts Intel’s Medfield Atom processor clocked at 2GHz. It is a single core processor but thanks to hyper-threading, it should be seen and treated by Android as a dual-core processor. Other features include a 4.3″ Super AMOLED display, a 2000mAH battery, and Ice Cream Sandwich in an 8.3mm body.
One advantage of the new processor that Intel and Motorola boasted was the camera speed. The RAZR i can launch its camera in under a second and take burst 8MP images at up to 10fps. However, given that this is the first serious Intel Android smartphone to be marketed in several countries, there are some downsides. The most important is app compatibility which is supposed to be a bit lower than for other chips — about 90 to 95% of apps and games will work with Intel processors.
Personally, I am excited to see a bit of competition in Android hardware. The current Qualcomm and Nvidia processors are hitting a stagnation, with only little bumps that offer no significant advantage aside from a tiny speed improvement. Intel’s hyper-threading approach is an example of things done differently but efficiently nonetheless. I do not expect them to revolutionize the processor market magically, but I see them as a potential for diversification and a drive for innovation. After all, competition can only benefit the consumer.
Yesterday, Tim Cook officially introduced the newest Apple iPhone named the iPhone 5. As with any announcement of this nature, there was a mix of hype, leaks, surprises and the unavoidable disappointment. The one sure thing though is that Apple fans weren’t the only ones who tuned in to follow the unveiling, but also Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry fans joined them.
The iPhone 5 brings the first significant UI modification to the iPhone line. By using a 16:9 4″ screen, instead of the regular 4:3 3.5″ screen, Apple was able to squeeze in a fifth row of icons and add a lot of vertical estate for applications. This also results in a taller yet identically wide device that keeps a very similar design language to the iPhone 4 and 4S family. It is, however, thinner and lighter.
Other important changes include a faster A6 processor, support for the LTE connectivity, HD voice and a requirement for the even smaller nanoSIMs instead of microSIMs. There’s an improved camera with the same 8MP resolution, a battery that’s ready to handle the bigger screen and LTE without compromise, Apple’s new proprietary Lightning Dock connector, and it ships with an improved set of earphones, the Ear Pods.
When you observe the small details, the iPhone 5 is an impressive new beast. However, if you take a step back to look at the big picture, it is simply an incremental update over the previous generation. Aside from LTE, there is no “new” feature, only improvements of pre-existing ones. By comparison, several Android devices have started including NFC and WiFi-direct, as well as utilizing sensors in innovative ways like Samsung’s Smart Stay that keeps the screen awake as long as you’re looking at it.
It seems that we’ve reached a point where there’s a real schism between these two ecosystems. The iPhone is the “safe” device, where every function is pushed and simplified to perfection, whereas Android phones are on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, with a lot of room for improvement in many aspects. I personally chose the bleeding edge, and got a Samsung Galaxy S3 before even knowing what the iPhone 5 would offer.
What about you? Did you wait to see what Apple’s iPhone 5 would bring to the table before deciding to upgrade your device? Or are you a hardened Android fan who would never even look at Apple’s announcements?
Despite the hundreds of thousands of applications on the Play Store, it seems that there is a great shortage of apps tailored towards Android tablets. Google doesn’t provide a specific category to make it easy to find them, the “Staff Picks For Tablets” section contains apps that aren’t even optimized for tablets, and you’d have to surf the whole internet to find decent recommendations.
Given my love of Android tablets, I’ve been quite disappointed in the current state of things so I made it my personal goal over the past couple of months to search, monitor and find the best selection of apps. I have categorized over 200 great apps on a Springpad notebook, but I will be a bit more elitist here and pick the “crème de la crème” with over 50 applications in a variety of categories that offer a wonderful tablet interface.
It’s no secret to anyone that Android tablets’ major competition is the iPad, which keeps outselling them worldwide. Despite the better specifications, innovative form factors, and recently improved Jelly Bean experience, the one area that seems to hold back Android tablets is the lack of optimised apps – that’s a field where Apple’s ecosystem excels. By comparison, the Play Store still lacks a dedicated tablet section to make it easier for users to find apps tailored for bigger touch screens.
However, due to the openness of Android, a few specific categories of apps exist for it that can’t make it onto the iPad in its regular state. Some would require a jailbreak to work, others wouldn’t even be technically possible. I have picked ten of these to showcase a small, albeit important, advantage of Android tablets.
When it comes down to file explorers on Android, there is no shortage of choice and we have covered several here on Android.Appstorm, from the highly powerful File Expert, to the purpose-specific WiFi File Explorer, passing by our top 10 file managers.
However, one slightly unknown option, AntTek Explorer — which works well both on phones and on tablets — has recently become my favorite. Read on to find out why…
Over seven months ago, I decided that I was finally ready to have a tablet in my life, justifying the price versus its added benefit in between my iMacs, Macbook, iPod Touch and multiple Android and Symbian smartphones. As a person quite invested in the Apple ecosystem, it was rather surprising to my friends that I didn’t even consider getting an iPad. Instead, I spent a few hours searching online for the perfect blend of features and compromises, and ended up with an Acer Iconia A100, a 7″ tablet. Why? Simply because there is no place in my life for a ~10″ tablet. And I am not alone.
7 months later, with a 7″ tablet, I’m more convinced every day that they’re a totally different beast compared to 9.7″-10″. There’s a place for both sizes in the tablet market, as they each target divergent audiences and distinctively separate needs. I will share with you below my findings in terms of the 7″ tablet usability and why I think Google made a perfect choice when it comes to its new Nexus 7 tablet.
Having used Symbian, Windows Mobile, Meego and iOS in the past, and settled on Android for the past 18 months, I have been quite excited to check out Windows Phone’s current offer in terms of ecosystem, OS, and devices. Thus, for the past couple of months, I have been using a Nokia Lumia 800 (running WP 7.5) as my secondary device, along with my primary HTC Desire Z (running ICS). After a series of ups and downs, I have found a lovely cocoon with both platforms, although the back and forth between them is highlighting all the exclusive features in each that I wish existed on the other.
Here, I will tackle the Windows Phone features that I really hope make it to Android; on our sister site, Windows.AppStorm, you will find the Android features that I would like to have on Windows Phone. These points are based on the out of the box options of each, neglecting what could possibly be done with rooting, unlocking, custom ROMs, homebrews, and so on.
Many companies and individuals use Basecamp to organize their tasks and projects, assign them to different people, communicate between each other and keep track of ideas and deadlines. However, unfortunately, Basecamp has long been limited to a web application, with no easy access on mobile platforms. Given that Basecamp is a part of my job, I fiddled with a few Android application alternatives, but they were either dreadful to look at or work on – often neglected apps stuck with little functionality and no recent updates.
Enter Camper, a free and beautiful Android application that started small around the end of last year but has been updated very regularly over the past months to reach an almost perfect state.
Who says Android has to be dull and ugly? This is a misconception that has been perpetuated since the days of the T-Mobile G1 and the first version of Android. The UI might have been basic and quite square back then, but fortunately this isn’t the case now. Thanks to the openness of the ecosystem, a slew of launchers and themes, and various mods, it is now possible to customize every single nook and cranny inside your phone.
As a matter of fact, this world of customization is the main reason I love Android and never get bored of it, even after a year of tinkering. Below, you will find an assortment of tools to help you get started, improve and even master the art of modding your Android interface.(more…)
Whether you have a Mac as a main computer or you use an iPod or an iPhone to complement your Android device, there’s a good chance that your music collection is all organized and kept in iTunes. Out of the box, your Android smartphone isn’t supposed to play nicely with iTunes to sync music and playlists, but, if you follow this tutorial, your phone and iTunes will become the best of friends.