Tag Archive: new


Motorola Droid X: Subtle Like an Asteroid

Motorola’s Droid X is real. Really, really giant. And it looks like video is going to be how Verizon pushes the 4.3-inch screen: VCAST, a Blockbuster download service, HDMI out and DLNA compatibility. Did I mention it’s gigantinormous?

Motorola Droid X: Subtle Like an Asteroid

What an odd phone. It’s tapered but in a crazy way: The bottom is super skinny, the body slowly growing growing thicker until it’s topped by a fat head. (Which gives you something meaty to grab in your pocket, making it surprisingly easy to whip out.) The effect is that while it’s larger than the Evo, it feels like a smaller phone. The screen is notably sharper than the similarly big-boned Evo, I should add (check it out in the gallery).

It’s running a brand new version of Motoblur on top of Android 2.1, which seems a bit more integrated into the OS than the old version, rather than slathered on top like colorful, half-hardened rubber cement. That said, some of the interface stuff is kind of confusing. When you boot up the phone, seven screens are stacked with widgets, which bogs down the phone enough to result in some definite chop if you’re zipping around a lot (though overall, the speed seems decent at first glance). I don’t know why they’d assault people with 6,000 widgets the minute they turn on the phone. How does that make Android friendlier?

I’m already in love the true multitouch keyboard, which might be the best Android now. It’s huge, and clean (HTC’s massive keyboard is noisy). A neat point is the way you select text—it’s iPhone-y, with a zoomed in rectangle when you press and hold.

Motorola Droid X: Subtle Like an Asteroid

It has built-in camera effects to go along with the 8MP camera, and more extensive settings than the default Android 2.1 setup. Which, click here for a full-sized sample of the shot above. The DLNA stuff seemed to work pretty well in the little demo they had set up—the 720p video they played, taken from the Droid X, looked okay, not amazing (the jello effect was noticeable).

It doesn’t have 4G, but even Google’s Andy Rubin called this the new “platinum” Android device. He might be right.

Some specs and details:

• 4.3-inch, 854×480 display
• 8 megapixel camera
• 720p video recording
• 1GHz TI OMAP processor (successor to the chip in the original Droid)
• 8GB internal storage (plus microSD)
• HDMI out
• 720p video
• true multitouch keyboard, with pre-loaded Swype
• Wi-Fi hotspot powers for up to 5 devices.
• “High performance diversity antennas” for call quality
• Battery life comparable to the original Droid
• 3, yes three mics: for video and noise suppression
• It’s not getting Android 2.2 until “late summer” (boooo!)
• It’s $200 after $100 mail-in rebate when it comes out July 15—the bonus is that they’re pulling an AT&T, so anybody eligible for an upgrade anytime in 2010 can upgrade immediately.
• Standard unlimited $30 data plan; $20 extra for mobile hotspot powers which comes with 2GB. Another $20 nets you an extra 2GB of data a month.

The full press release, BTW:

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and LIBERTYVILLE, Ill., June 23 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless 3G network, and Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT), a pioneer in the mobile industry, today unveiled DROID X by Motorola. DROID X does more with ultra high-speed Web browsing; a fast 1GHz processor; 3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities; loads of memory; intuitive social messaging; Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 ready; and access to Android Market™, which has more than 65,000 applications, along with a host of unique Verizon Wireless applications such as NFL Mobile, Skype mobile™, V CAST Video, EA Need for Speed Shift™ and more.

“Nine months ago, we made a commitment to our customers to bring the openness of Android to the Verizon Wireless network,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “Since then, we have introduced the top-selling Android phone in the marketplace today — the DROID by Motorola. DROID X takes that commitment to another level with exclusive content, faster processing speeds, and, of course, the reliability of our network.”

Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer of Motorola and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobile Devices and Home business added, “Motorola designed DROID X to push the extreme limits of Android innovation, and enable you to do even more with your mobile device. We are breaking down barriers so that you can experience the Web the way it was meant to be and create, share and view content like never before, either in your hand or in your home. Enterprise users will also find DROID X appealing with features including push e-mail and live widgets for e-mail and calendar updates.”

DROID X gives customers a 4.3-inch high-resolution screen for viewing the latest movies and video from BLOCKBUSTER On Demand® presented by V CAST Video, the newest addition to the Verizon Wireless V CAST application, which also includes access to favorite TV shows. The DROID X video capabilities let customers capture spontaneous fun, combining a dual-flash, 8-megapixel camera, HD camcorder, as well as DLNA and HDMI connectivity to download, stream and share personal HD content.

DROID X customers will also receive Android 2.2 and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 with an over-the-air update in the latter half of the summer. With the update, the Flash Player will allow mobile users to experience hundreds of sites with rich applications and content inside the browser, including games, animations, rich Internet applications (RIAs), data presentations and visualizations, ecommerce, music, video, audio and more.

“It has been an exciting time for Android momentum and global consumer adoption since the announcement of DROID by Motorola nine months ago,” said Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering for Google. “There are 160,000 new Android-powered devices activated daily and Android Market has grown to over 65,000 applications. Plus later this summer, Verizon Wireless and Motorola will update all the DROID by Motorola phones to the latest 2.2 software. For customers, this means great new features and improved browser performance. For developers, this will provide new tools such as cloud-to-device messaging and enhanced enterprise functionality.”

“We are excited about full Flash support coming to the DROID X and other devices from Motorola,” said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe. “Flash Player 10.1, which is one of Adobe’s most anticipated releases ever, has been redesigned from the ground up to deliver the kind of highly engaging experiences that consumers now expect from their mobile devices.”

Once updated to Android 2.2, business customers will find DROID X offers the features that turn the device into a workhorse with support for both Exchange and Gmail™ for business. Corporate users can enjoy push delivery of e-mail; live widgets that stream messages to the home screen; filter widgets to differentiate work and home e-mail; corporate directory and Global look-up along with a unified calendar for Enterprise and sync with Google Calendar™. Security protocols allow remote password control and wipe via Exchange server.

Pricing and Availability
DROID X by Motorola will be available at http://www.verizonwireless.com and in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores beginning July 15 for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted. In addition to subscribing to a Nationwide Talk plan or a Nationwide Talk & Text plan, customers will also need to subscribe to an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access. Email and Web for Smartphone plans start at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.

Customers can add the optional 3G Mobile Hotspot service to their DROID X for $20 per month. The 3G Mobile Hotspot allows customers to turn the phone into a wireless modem for up to five compatible Wi-Fi devices. In addition, current Verizon Wireless customers who have contracts ending by December 31, 2010, can upgrade to any smartphone, including DROID X, without penalty.

For more information on DROID X by Motorola, go to http://phones.verizonwireless.com/droid/x/. For information about Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to http://www.verizonwireless.com.

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The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

iOS 4 is here for iPhone and iPod touch. You’re probably downloading right now. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of iOS 4.

First off, have you actually upgraded? If not, Here’s how.

Here are all the new things that are in iOS 4, and how you can try them. While you’re trying this, go and download the apps updated for iOS 4.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

The big one. Here’s how you try it.

  1. Open the phone app
  2. Hit the home button once, then open Safari and go to any site
  3. Double tap the home button, which will bring up a little menu tray
  4. Select one of the “open” apps to switch directly to it

You can also swipe left and right to scroll through the different “pages” of apps you have open. If your app is multitasking-enabled, it will resume exactly where you left off. Games will continue from pause mode, web pages will be where you left them, music will continuously play even while you’re in another app, and so forth. The standard multitasking benefits.

So yes, this allows you to listen to Pandora in the background while you do other stuff. Well, as long as you grab that new version of Pandora. Strangely enough, YouTube backgrounding does not work, even though I remember specifically talks of that working. Not sure what happened there, or if the YouTube app needs an update.

The big picture is you can do a lot of stuff now that you couldn’t do before. You can have a Skype phone call and use your phone simultaneously, have a GPS turn-by-turn navigation app keep your place and keep routing you even while you go and send a text message, or even just load up a web page and have it full in in the background while you go change a song.

To close a running app

Steve Jobs doesn’t recommend that you even deal with closing running apps, because the phone will take care of it automatically. But if you want to shut off Pandora, or AIM, or anything else that’s running in the background and giving you alerts or doing something you want to end, here’s what you do.

  1. Double tap the home button from any app
  2. Press and hold on an app icon. The dismiss “minus” icon will pop up on each app and the icons will start shaking
  3. Click the minus icon to kill an app. You can do so repeatedly for all the apps you want to close.
  4. To get out of this mode, hit the home The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

The hell of countless app screens is finally gone—or at least manageable in a sloppy way now. The folders in iOS 4.0 aren’t perfect but they help organization just a bit and they’re simple to use.

All you need to do is press-and-hold any app to trigger rearranging app icons and you’ll be able to drag them onto each other to create folders. Done. Your iPhone will even automatically suggest a name for the folder based on the type of apps you’re sticking in there (though you can change that with a tap).

Folders aren’t exactly perfect though. They fit twelve apps, but only show tiny versions of 9. Once opened, folders show apps in rows of four—which leaves a net nine-app folder looking awkward once open. No matter though, we’re content with being tossed at least a scrap here and hope that future iOS upgrades will address the some of the shortcomings of folders.

It’s not surprising, but it’s good to know that you can in fact stick folders into the dock.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

We’re glad to see that the Mail app received a bit of a feature makeover of sorts. All the new changes appear to be in response to complaints we’ve had our heard from other iPhone users.

The email threading feature is surprisingly solid. When you’ve got it turned on, emails will be grouped by replies—like in Gmail for example—and you’ll see a little number indicator next to the most messages in your inbox to show you how long a thread is. Tap that most recent message and all others will pop up.

Speaking of Gmail! Those users will be happy to see that the “delete” button that shows up after a swipe has turned into an “archive” button. Makes things just a bit more logical.

We’re also happy to see that there are now “smart” links in emails now. This means that you can tap on dates to add events to your calendar, press tracking numbers to pull up the UPS website, or open the Maps app when there’s an address included.

And the best change to the Mail app? The long-awaited unified inbox. You can finally view emails by inbox or in one large dump. When replying to a message from the unified inbox, your iPhone will automatically use the correct email account.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

New iPod multitasking controls

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4
While you can no longer get a pop-up set of iPod controls by double-tapping the home button, you do have a decent replacement in the multi-tasking drawer. By swiping over to the very left of the drawer, you’ll be able to access some minimal iPod controls next to the orientation lock. Play/pause, forward, back. It’s just enough to make some quick adjustments to song selection, but we still miss the old pop-up-style controls a bit.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

That book e-reader program that’s already out on iPad is coming to iPhone! (Yay.) But it’s not built in. (Wha?) You have to hit the App Store and manually download the iBooks app. It’s free. Maybe for competitive purposes? Who knows.

In any case, you can sync ePub and PDF books directly from iTunes by using the iBooks section. If you have books in other formats other than ePub, use calibre to convert them.

Game Center

The Xbox Live-like social networking game infrastructure that supercedes all the community-created ones is not here yet! It’ll hit some time after launch, once developers integrate it into their systems and Apple finishes building it. But, it should give you a pretty good unified system for communicating with your friends over various games, as well as allowing you to do game recommendations (and invitations). It’s definitely something we’re looking forward to.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

If you have an iPhone 3GS or a late-model iPod Touch, you can set backgrounds for your home screen. Like on the iPad. Here’s how.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Wallpaper
  3. Tap on the two icons that represent your two current homescreen/lockscreen wallpapers
  4. Choose a picture from either the Wallpapers list that Apple included, or use one of your own photos from your photo album
  5. Decide whether you want it on your lock screen, your home screen, or Both
  6. Hit the home button to see your new home screen

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

Keep in mind that this is digital zoom, so the already-wanting quality of the iPhone 3G/3GS camera will get even worse when you go 5x bigger. This is no enhance, enhance, enhance magic.

But to do so, just open up the Camera app, tap somewhere on the middle of the screen and the slider will appear. Slide it right to zoom, left to un-crappify. Note, zooming doesn’t work on videos, where you can only tap to focus, but not zoom.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

Pairing a Bluetooth keyboard—almost any Bluetooth keyboard, not just the slender Apple-branded kind—is as simple as pairing any other Bluetooth device. Turn the keyboard on, turn on Bluetooth, let your phone detect the keyboard, and tap a few numbers. Done. It works quite well, though it takes a while to get used to not having the on-scree keyboard pop-up while a Bluetooth one is connected.

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4

You can now tether your phone to your computer over USB or Bluetooth. But how? The first step is turning on tethering on your account, which you can do by going toatt.com/mywireless and enrolling in the tethering plan. It’s an extra $20 a month, and you get to share whatever data plan you have on your phone with your computer.

Charging an extra $20 just for the privilege of using the same data you’re already using on another device seems seems pretty lame, but that’s a gripe for another time.

iAds

What, you’re in such a hurry to look at ads on your iPhone? You’ll have to cool it for a bit, because the ads themselves aren’t available until July 1. What you can do, though, is opt-out of the targeting portion of the ads by going to oo.apple.com, but that isn’t live until July 1 either.

What we still didn’t get (and want in iOS 5)

  • SMS tone customization. Seriously! C’mon!’
  • Facebook integration, or any kind of cloud-contact syncing
  • iTunes cloud streaming, direct from an iTunes.com
  • Better multitasking, because only having four icons visible at once is arbitrarily clumsy. Why swipe through so many apps to find the one to “quickly” switch to
  • solution to the modal popup problem. I don’t want to be locked out of what I’m doing whenever I get an IM
  • Widgets in the multitasking tray
  • A lock screen that shows email count, IM count, SMS count and other info to be determined by the user
  • Home screen widgets even
  • Free turn-by-turn application (Android can do it, why not one for iPhone)
  • Ability to remove Apple’s default apps
  • Horizontal homescreen
  • Ability to disable spotlight searching entirely, for both privacy reasons and for clumsy-swiping reasons
  • iChat mobile, with FaceTime on iPhone 4 somehow worked in to video chat with desktops