Posts Tagged

ice cream sandwich

$70 can’t get you as much these days as it used to. A tank of gas or maybe two? A dinner with a cheap bottle of wine? Pay your electric bill?

What if I told you that 70 greenbacks could get you a quality phone, Ice Cream Sandwich, and a no-contract plan on Big Red (Verizon for those outside of the States)? Well, to my surprise, it can. However, it’s not without a bit of homework, eBay browsing, and some technical obstacles. But with a bit of effort, you can turn that chump change into a serious return.

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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.

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A 2 GB data cap isn’t enough. It never has been, and it never will be. You can toe the line but not without incurring the wrath of the throttled download. Tricks like “Turn off location services” are the best we have to offer when friends and family ask how they can get more out of their data plan. That ends now with Onavo Extend.

Onavo Extend is a freshly released app that increases your Android’s data plan by 80% with a few taps. Install the app, speed through the three step setup, and the app starts working its algorithmic magic, compressing data and slashing bills. For free.

If your “unlimited” data plan maxes out at 2 GB every month, installing Onavo can cut billed usage to less than 1 GB. This lets you switch to a cheaper plan or double your surfing. I know which one I’m picking!

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I keep seeing reports about this: ICS is only on ~3% of Android devices, despite having been released way back in October. Alongside these reports almost always comes the assumption that this is a terrible thing, and that so many Android users are being left in the dust with some obsolete dust.

But hold on. Is that true? See, my Samsung phone doesn’t have ICS yet, but it does have a stable version of Gingerbread, which is already a great mobile operating system that I’m very happy with. Aside from the more gimmicky features like a stock panoramic camera and a facial recognition unlock screen – which I can get apps for anyway – the biggest deals to me are the new UI and the hardware accelerated rendering.

But I can already customise the heck out of my phone’s UI, and chances are that when my phone gets its official upgrade the UI will still look like classic TouchWiz rather than Holo. As for hardware acceleration, that’s already built in to TouchWiz, so I’m not missing out on too much there, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to getting ICS at last. But I’m not greatly inconvenienced by not having it yet. What about you?

I’m an Apple user at heart; I use a Mac as my computer, an iPhone as my smartphone and an iPad as my tablet. In my opinion, it’s a pretty great setup, especially when it’s backed by Apple’s iTunes and iCloud ecosystem that keeps everything working together. But although that’s probably not going to change, I’ve felt an impulse (though I have not succumbed, yet) to break the circle of devices and introduce a new Android phone to the mix.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about Android in general here. I’m talking very specifically about Ice Cream Sandwich and its significant advancements for the platform.

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Last month, Nathaniel Mott told us why manufacturer’s custom skins should disappear. I and many others were quite excited for the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next generation of Android handsets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but collectively, I think we were disappointed. Why? Certainly not because of the specs, or even the design, but because of the skins.

If we take a look at the HTC One X, it’s not an incredibly ugly phone when it comes to user interface, but it’s nowhere near as well designed as stock Ice Cream Sandwich. It seems that the phone makers have taken Android’s open, versatile nature to mean it is there for them to mess up.

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Mobile World Congress has just recently wrapped up in Barcelona, ending a show full of announcements from the major Android stakeholders. Just as we did with CES in January, in this roundup we’ll take a look at some of the headliners from the show, from the HTC One series to the new Sony Xperia lineup.

While not every announcement may necessarily be covered, here are a few that stood out for us.

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When it comes to my mobile browser, I’m but a simple man. I don’t use Opera Mini or Dolphin or Firefox. The stock browser is fine for me because I don’t use gestures and Chrome is my primary desktop browser so I wouldn’t benefit from the syncing capabilities of Firefox. In my experience, the stock browser was always the fastest and least intrusive as far as taking up screen real estate. Then Google released Chrome Beta for Android, and all of that changed. Let’s take a look at what Google’s first crack at a mobile version of Chrome is like.

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It seems like you can’t talk about Android without talking about fragmentation. While the sheer number of phones is largely to blame, one of the bigger contributors to Android’s lack of unification is the manufacturers’ practice of adding a custom skin to the core Android operating system.

This needs to stop. Here’s why.

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I know. Believe me, I know; you’re sick of reading about the iPhone. That’s cool with me. Trust me, I understand completely. Still, that’s what I’m going to write about, kind of. My expectations for Android 4.0, coming from a strong background with iOS.

If I haven’t already lost you, read on.

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