Xiaomi MI-One Announced; Runs on MIUI ROM

MIUI ROM for Android is the most polished custom ROM you will ever come across, in the Android ecosystem. The ROM is built from ground-up, thanks to the AOSP code, and is influenced from iPhone’s UI. The ROM has some very nice touches, which I hope will one day make it to Android.


Now, the popularity of the MIUI ROM was noticed by a Chinese handset manufacturer, Xiaomi. Today, Xiaomi have released a new handset dubbed MI-One, which runs on MIUI ROM.

The handset is no slow-couch, and is a beast in its own right. The 4-inch screen on the beast has a FWVGA (480×854) resolution. The MI-One is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 chipset, and packs 1GB of RAM along with 4GB of internal memory. The Adreno 220 GPU clocked at 266MHz, handles the graphics department.

Other key specs of the handset include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS with A-GPS, microSD card slot, dedicated microphone for noise cancellation, 3.5mm audio jack and a customizable MI-button. The back of the MI-One sports an 8MP camera with an LED flash. It will also come with an unlocked bootloader.

The handset will be powered by a beefy 1930mAh battery, and will come with interchangeable back covers. As stated before, the MI-One runs on Android 2.3.5 based MIUI ROM

The best part about the handset is its pricing. The Xiaomi’s MI-One will retail in China for ï¿¥1999, which comes to around $312 U.S. dollars. The handset is expected to be available in China, sometime in October this year, There is no word as to whether Xiaomi intends to bring the MI-One to other regions of the world or not.

Samsung Hires CyanogenMod Founder–Steve Kondik

CyanogenMod (CM) is the most popular AOSP based custom ROM available for Android handsets and tablets out there. The CM team consists of more than 40 talented developers, who work hard in their free time, to add more features to CM, and to support more devices.


CyanogenMod was originally founded by Steve ‘Cyanogen’ Kondik. He had uploaded a test build of an AOSP ROM for the HTC G1, with a few tweaks, over at XDA forums.   The reaction he got was overwhelming, and a few years later, CM now runs on more than 550k Android devices.

Well, now the good news is that Samsung has hired Steve Cyanogen’ Kondik. However, don’t get your hopes high on a CM running device from Samsung. Steve was probably hired because of his vast knowledge of the Android OS, its ecosystem and his programming skills.

Steve Kondik has also confirmed that he won’t be blogging about Samsung, especially in relation to CM.He does state that he will be working in Samsung to make Android more awesome.   I guess we will see some of Steve’s work in the Galaxy S II successor, the Galaxy S III.

It’s ironic that at the beginning of this year, most of the manufacturers were against the work of the developers and custom ROMs. They were shipping their phones with an encrypted bootloader to prevent modding. But, this move from the manufacturers got a lot of negative response from the developers and the general consumers, alike. In the end, not only did they ease their stance on the bootloader policy, they have also started hiring these talented developers.


HTC’s Web-Based Bootloader Unlock Tool Goes Live

HTC Sensation owners in Europe, here is some good news for you. The promised web-based bootloader unlocking tool from HTC has just gone live.

At the moment, the web-based tool only supports the European version of Sensation running on software version 1.45.401.2 or greater. The 1.45 numbered software update was recently released by HTC in Europe, and bumps up the Android OS version to 2.3.4, along with squashing some bugs.

The bootloader unlock page mentions only 3 handsets from HTC, the EVO 3D, the Sensation 4G and the European version of the Sensation, whose bootloader can be unlocked. Of all the three handsets, the European version of Sensation is only one, which users can unlock the bootloader on right away.  Users will be able to unlock the bootloader on the other two handsets, post a software update, which should be rolled out sooner than later.

Users who are interested in unlocking the boot loader on their handset, should keep in mind that by doing so, they will void the warranty of their handset. Also, while HTC allows users to unlock the bootloader on their handset, it does not provide a way to lock it back.

Interested Sensation (EU) owners, should head over to HTC’s Developer website for more information.

Motorola ‘Life Proof Smartphone’ Defy+ Announced

Motorola has just announced the successor to its popular mid-range Android phone Defy, the Motorola Defy+. Like the original Defy, the Defy+ is also capable of surviving the harshest of weather conditions. The handset is dubbed as a ‘Life proof smartphone’ by Motorola, and is dust proof, water resistant and scratch resistant.

The Defy+ sports the same 3.7-inch screen with FWVGA (480×854) resolution as its  predecessor. The handset is powered by a 1GHz OMAP processor, and packs 512MB of RAM. There is also 2GB of on-board memory, along with a microSD card slot with a 2GB card pre-loaded.

Other key features of the Defy+ include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS with A-GPS, FM Radio with RDS and a 3.5mm audio jack. The usual array of sensors are also on-board.

The back of the handset houses a 5MP camera with Auto focus and a LED flash, for  assisting  low-light photography. The Defy+ will run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the dreaded MotoBLUR UI on top of it. A beefy 1700mAh battery powers the handset, which is capable of providing a stand-by time of up to 16 days on 3G.

The Motorola Defy+ will hit the retail stores of Asia, Europe and Latin America in early fall.

Motorola Photon 4G Bootloader Unlocked!

In the last year or so, all the Android phones shipped by Motorola came with an encrypted boot loader. Motorola has been heavily criticized for shipping their phones with locked down bootloader. The company promised that they will ship phones with unlockable boot loaders sometime later this year. Sadly, the company has not made any visible progress on this front.

For the Photon 4G owners though, the good news is that the boot loader on their handset can now be unlocked. The awesomely talented developers over at XDA forums have managed to unlock the encrypted boot loader of the Photon 4G.  Interested Photon 4G owners, can head over to this thread over at XDA forums for more information on how to unlock the boot loader.

Photon 4G owners should keep in mind that if they unlock the boot loader of their handset, they will void the warranty of the handset. They should also make a backup of their data on the phone, since the phone will be wiped clean of all data during the unlocking process.

Since the Photon 4G shares similar internals to Verizon’s Droid 3 and the upcoming Droid Bionic, it may help developers to unlock the boot loader of those handsets as well.


Google Buys Motorola Mobility For $12.5 Billion!

This news is probably going to shock a lot of people out here. The search engine giant – Google – has acquired Motorola’s smartphone business for $12.5 billion.

At the moment, there is not much information available about this deal, and why Google decided to purchase Motorola mobility, out of the blue. However, after this deal, we can expect Google to start manufacturing its own handsets, unlike now.

Motorola was among the first smartphone manufacturers to bet big on Google’s open-source mobile OS. The Motorola Droid played a major role in making Android popular in the U.S. Motorola was also the first company to launch an Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet. The relation between both the companies have been very strong right from the early days of Android.

The official blog-post from Google regarding this deal states that they will continue to run Motorola as a  separate  business unit. Readers can find the whole blog post here.

One reason behind this buy-out can be the huge amount of patent that Motorola owns, which might help the big G in the patent war. The patent portfolio of Google is definitely going to get a huge boost thanks to this deal!  This buy-out can also mean that from now onwards, all the Nexus branded phone from Google will be made by Motorola.

Hopefully, this also means that we will see some much better handsets coming out from Motorola’s stable after this deal. Ideally, Motorola will start making reference hardware for future versions of Android as well.


Samsung To Hold a ‘Major Product Announcement’ Event In NYC on 29 August

People in the United States, looks like your wait for the Samsung Galaxy S II is finally going to end. Samsung has just sent out a press release to all bloggers, for a ‘major product announcement’ in New York.    It is all but certain that this event from Sammy is going to be about the U.S. variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the hottest smartphone on the planet right now. Not only is the SGS2 insanely thin at 8.47mm, it also boasts of a powerful 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The handset has sold in excess of 5 million units in less than 3 months of its release. Considering that the handset still has not been released in the U.S, it is no small feat.

Earlier, it was  uncertain  whether the SGS2 would come to the U.S or not. However, Samsung confirmed last month that the handset will hit the states sometime in August or September.  Hopefully, Samsung will announce all the different variants of the Galaxy S II, with all the details about its availability, cost, and specifications.

The invite image from Sammy also gives a hint about the event being related to the SGS2. If you can find it in the image above, drop in a comment! ;)


Motorola Titanium Unveiled; Runs On Android 2.1 Eclair!

Motorola and Nextel Mexico have unveiled a new Android based smartphone – the Motorola Titanium. The Titanium is similar to the Verizon’s Droid Pro.

The Titanium sports a 3.1-inch screen with HVGA (320×480) resolution. The phone has a candy-bar form-factor, with a full QWERTY keyboard, up front. Other key features of the Titanium include a GPS with A-GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, FM Radio with RDS and a microSD card slot with an 8GB card pre-loaded.

At Motorola, we are proud to introduce Motorola TITANIUM, it is the first device in its class to integrate various communication types e-mail and the Internet, radio and telephony. That is precisely how our joint offer becomes smarter,said Vince García, iDEN director, Motorola Mexico.

The back of the handset will pack a 5MP camera with autofocus, and LED flash. The Titanium runs on the out-dated Android 2.1 (Eclair), with Moto’s BLUR UI on top of it. It also supports Nextel’s email service and radio  functionality. The handset is powered by a  monstrous  1820mAh battery.

Sadly, Motorola and Nextel did not mention anything about the release date or pricing of the Titanium. However, the handset should be available to the end-user by September.



HTC Sensation Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out!

HTC Sensation owners over at XDA forums are reporting that HTC have started rolling out a new software update for their sensational handset – the Sensation.

The new software update bumps up the Android OS version to 2.3.4, and brings some much needed performance improvements and bug-fixes. The update also includes Google Talk with video-chatting capabilities. Users who installed the OTA update, also reported less ‘Sense’ rosie launcher re-loading issue, and improvements in touch  screen  scrolling.

The software update also contains a new HBOOT. This means that post the update, Sensation owners would be able to unlock the boot loader on their handset, once the web-based unlock tool from HTC goes live sometime this month.

Sensation owners, who have already managed to get S-OFF and root using revolutionary, are recommended to stay away from this OTA update. The new version of HBOOT is incompatible with the revolutionary app at the moment. They should wait until developers update the app to support the new HBOOT version.

The OTA update carries the version number 1.45.401, and is currently being rolled out in Europe. Hopefully, HTC will manage to complete the roll-out by the end of August, and release the web-based unlocking tool in time as well.


Android Ice Cream Sandwich Screenshots Leak; Blue Is The New Green

Up until now, there is hardly any information available about the next version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich. The only thing known is that with ICS, the big G will unify all the different versions of Android (Mobiles, tablets, TV) into one. This means that   all the nice features of Honeycomb will make it to the next version of Android meant for mobiles.


Now, the folks over at Android Police and RootzWiki have got their hands on some exclusive pictures of a Nexus S running Ice Cream Sandwich. From the screenshots, it looks like Google has dumped the green theme found across the OS, and changed it to blue. One of the Android’s strength, the notification bar, has also been revamped. There is also a new launcher with four-icons, and a new revamped app drawer.

Other features which ICS will incorporate will be a new panorama mode for camera, Google Shopper and a new re-themed version of GMail. The tipster also suggests that ICS will not pack in too many changes, and will mostly be about UI changes.

Google will unveil Android Ice Cream Sandwich to the public with a new Nexus branded handset, sometime at the end of this year. The Nexus S will get the update sometime after that via an OTA update.