One of the beautiful advantages that Android has over other operating systems like iOS and BlackBerry is that Google often rolls out major OS updates which can, eventually, be applied to older equipment. iOS does to an extent, but updates aren’t always fully backwards-compatible. As of yesterday afternoon, Google’s marquee device of yesteryear, the Google Nexus S, made by Samsung, is finally being upgraded to the latest and greatest release: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
This update, which is for UMTS and GSM versions of the phone in the US, will bring all of the Google goodies that users have been pining after since Google’s failed upgrade attempt last December. Also squeezing in on this party are the WiFi version of the Motorola Xoom tablet and the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus—Google’s current flagship.
For those of you crying foul, yes, the Galaxy Nexus already has ICS, making this a true “update” rather than upgrade, to fix a few minor bugs. Specifically relating to the Nexus, the .4 part of the update includes “stability improvements, better camera performance, smoother screen rotation, improved phone number recognition and more.”
All other versions of these phones will have to continue to wait patiently, as the various carriers make sure no bloatware gets forgotten in their pre-distribution ICS modifications. The update is rolling out as we speak, but a jump to Settings > About Phone > System Updates > Check for Updates never hurts, especially if you have a little extra data sitting on your plan at the end of this cycle.
Even though it has been out for a while now, the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-touting Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is taking its time making the rounds to the smaller carriers. In two days, on Friday, February 3, WIND Mobile will start offering it for $249 on a WINDtab+ plan.
WIND offers eligible customers a line of credit—up to $150 for WINDtab, more for WINDtab+—to help with the purchase of their device. Instead of waiving part of the cost of the phone, only to stick you with it and possibly more should you break your contract, WIND’s contactless solution is a rather refreshing take on things.
So you can obtain that Galaxy Nexus for only $249 without a contract, though you are still liable for the full cost of the phone if you discontinue service before it’s paid off. Since this is more of a leak than an announcement, we do not have full details, but it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing that beautiful 4.65-inch screen in all of its HD Super AMOLED glory, 1.2Ghz of processing power, your choice of either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and all the usual other goodies.
Sprint brought its first 4G LTE tower cluster online at the very end of 2011, but there was a slight catch: Sprint doesn’t have any 4G LTE devices, not even a mobile hotspot. Thanks to the wonders of CES, we now have a glimpse of what to expect from Sprint this year. Sprint has announced that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper, and a Sierra Wireless Tri-Network mobile hotspot will all be arriving in the next few months.
While there are sure to be some slight variations from the Verizon version, we can expect the Galaxy Nexus to be mostly unchanged. This means we’re looking at a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen running at 1,280 x 720 pixels with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB or RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. The only thing on the phone that could use—and hopefully will get—an upgrade is the 5MP rear camera.
The Viper is an all-new Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone from LG. It has specifications that, apart from being .65-inches smaller, are eerily similar to the Nexus. We’re looking at a 4-inch screen with resolution a little ways south of HD at 800 x 480 powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a VGA front camera, NFC, and an equally-weak 5MP rear camera are also included.
And let’s not forget that hotspot, who’s only newsworthy info is that it can run on 3G, 4G WiMAX, and/or 4G LTE. While these devices would have been all the rage three weeks ago, in light of CES they feel decidedly mid-range. Then again, with the inclusion of LTE, they are easily the best Sprint has to offer. Pricing and availability were not announced, but I’m guessing ‘soon’ would be a fair estimate.
We all know that we want Android 4.x Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) but how many of us actually know why? Well there are a whole plethora of reasons, especially for those making the jump from Android 2.2 FroYo. In the above video, note the presence of Time Lapse, an under-mentioned feature which will allow you to document all your full-length life experiences in a share-friendly format.
While there are Time Lapse apps available on the Android Market—such as Lapse It which is free for 240p, $1.99 for 720p recording—they are not native, nor are they perfect. The native Time Lapse welcomes your adventures without destroying your battery—though for longer time lapses, such as the above 400 mile trek, a power cord will come into play—and presents a hand-off approach to recording. This is just one more way Android is subtly making your life a little more simple.
I’m sure most of us are aware of many of the hotter features and benefits of ICS such as the ability to take screen shots, Spell Check or the never-to-be-forgotten Visual Voicemail. Like Lapse It, the features of Visual Voicemail and Spell Check can be achieved fairly well via apps such as Google Voice and Flex T9 respectively but as with Time Lapse, going native will always give you the fullest experience.
Well pigs must be flying somewhere, because the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is actually here, believe it or not. Available in stores and online, Verizon has priced it at $299.99 with the obligatory 2-year contract and 4G data plan. If your patience ran out about two weeks ago, you can pick it up at Verizon retail stores, or visit Verizon online and you will get free overnight shipping.
If your money is worth more than your time, new customers can save $150 by purchasing from Amazon Wireless, but be forewarned: the Galaxy Nexus is already backordered, it “usually ships in 8-9 days,” and you still have the obligatory new contract. Existing Verizon customers will save $50, but the new contract requirements and backorder will still apply.
With the disappearance of unlimited data, that cell phone bill can start looking more and more like a car payment. To ease you back into the holiday spirit, Verizon is extending its Double My Data promotion through the holidays.
This means you can run into the stores right now, drop $300 on the phone, $70/month on unlimited voice calling, and $100/month for 22GB of 4G data and wireless hotspot. Or, if your name isn’t Warren Buffet, you can rock $40/month for 450 minutes and $20/month for 300MB of 4G data.
The Galaxy Nexus has been released on Bell and Virgin Mobile in Canada. If you’re one of our friends in Canada, then you’re looking at only $160 Canadian but you’re also looking at a three—that’s right, three—year contract. Who knew? I guess Virgin Mobile and Bell are actually serious about this being a flagship device. That or they are just trying to screw us over, one of the two. If three years is a bit much, then you can still pick it up for $650 Canadian off-contract.
If you’re more partial to Rogers or Telus you will have to wait until next year to pick it up. Fortunately, you should be able to pick it up in the first month of the new year. As far as when those of us south of the Really Bloody Cold Line of Latitude can expect to get our hands on the device, we still have no real idea.
After Verizon’s issues with its 4G networks this week—which have all been resolved, in case you were wondering—the phone has been delayed, again. Although it’s hard to call it a delay, since it has never been given a solid launch date. Right now the most popular rumor is December 15, that or tomorrow, or today, or…you get the idea. Perhaps we should ‘Occupy Samsung and Verizon,’ who’s with me?
Google’s much-touted Android Flagship—the Samsung Galaxy Nexus—has been spotted at the Samsung Experience in NYC. Unfortunately, the Nexus is still not for sale. That said, if you’re close by it could still be worth a trip to The Shops at Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan to play with it in all of its Ice Cream Sandwich goodness.
At this point in the article is when I would usually tell you when you will be able to buy one for yourself. Sadly, the most solid information that we have is that the phones have begun arriving at Verizon retail stores. And of course we have this one going on display at Samsung, so we can’t be too very far off now.
I would love to give you some kind of date that it will hit Verizon US retail stores but the reported dates range from December 7 in Toronto to December 11 at Best Buy. And all of the reports are unofficial, so your guess is as good as mine right now.
Of course, it’s already out in the UK and elsewhere, so if all that you want is a GSM version, you can always go online and pick one up. Just be prepared to sign over an arm and a leg, because they aren’t exactly discounted right now.
As I am sure all of our readers in Europe are aware, the Galaxy Nexus has had a weird bug, causing the volume to act irregularly. As we had previously reported, the problem had gotten so bad that some users were reporting that their phones were effectively rendered useless.
Fortunately, reports are starting to come in that some users are receiving an over-the-air (OTA) update that is fixing their problems. It is rather odd that neither Google nor Samsung is including any fanfare with this release of a fix, but anything that moves us closer to getting the Galaxy Nexus here in the US is a good thing in my book.
The Galaxy Nexus is Google and Samsung’s latest Android flagship device, and it packs in all kinds of awesome. But when the reports about the bug were first happening—always in conjunction with the usage of the 900MHz radio—many people were thinking that it was a hardware issue.
Google announced just before Thanksgiving that the problem is definitively a software problem, which is excellent news. Those of us on the American side of the giant puddle have been waiting with baited breath for concrete news as to when we will be able to get a piece of the Galaxy. Had this been a hardware issue, we would probably still be waiting for quite a while.
Don’t you hate it when you launch a new flagship device and someone steals your thunder? Isn’t it even worse when you are the one doing the stealing from yourself? Well that’s what is happing with Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus in Europe right now.
Owners of the brand new phone are reporting that they are having issues with the volume on the phone’s speakers. Reports are that the phone adjusts the volume during phone calls, audio playback, data usage, and when WiFi is used. It seems that the problems only occur when the phone makes use of its 900 MHz—otherwise known as 2G, GPRS, or Edge—radio.
This problem appears to be happening to a large amount of users, with some websites pegging the number as high as 70%. The news gets worse if you believe the speculation that because the problems only occur on 2G; this has to be a hardware problem related to the 2G radio. If this is the case, it would require a large-scale recall by Samsung, and that is not something that anybody wants to see.
Wish that you could get a brand-new Galaxy Nexus for free, even if you did have to sign a contract? Well now you can! All you have to do is pack up your bags, move to the UK, and sign a new two-year, £34 a month contract with Three UK. “Not cost-effective” say you? Well unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot that I can do about that, sorry.
However, if you already live in the UK, this deal looks a fair shot better. The offer is valid until November 30, and right now the earliest available delivery date is November 22, which is next Tuesday.
It is not readily apparent as to why this price—£0—is so vastly different from Verizon’s price of $299. Speculation would tell us that perhaps Samsung and Google are trying to really push the Nexus brand into the mainstream customer spotlight, much the same as what Motorola has done with the Droid brand.
Now, I know I poked fun at those of us on this side of the pond being able to benefit from this, but the truth is that we might start seeing some devices floating our way at way below retail, thanks to the likes of eBay. And when that starts happening, perhaps we’ll start seeing some serious price reductions from places like Amazon. Any way that you slice it, I’m excited.
The beautiful Nokia Lumia 900 is manufactured from a single-piece injection-molded polycarbonate shell and features a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack Display (CBD), 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM, and a 1830mAh battery. Performance-wise, it can best nearly every device on the market. The 8MP Carl Zeiss camera takes fantastic photos, and the quality of the 1MP front-facing camera is astounding. The intuitive Windows Phone OS, support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and $99 price tag are just icing on the cake.
Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
The Motorola DROID RAZR was easily one of the best Android phones of 2011. It was one of the first seriously thin phones and it had the best specifications, durability, and styling to come out of Motorola in a long time. Now, with the introduction of the MAXX variant, it's almost irresistible, even to those currently locked into a contract. With Verizon’s 4G LTE, a 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 3300mAh battery pumping out over 21 hours of talk time, the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX is ecstasy wrapped in Kevlar.