Swype Out Of Beta; Now Available On The Play Store

Swype was the first keyboard to bring the gesture typing implementation on mobile devices and especially to Android devices. However, Swype was never available as a download-able keyboard on the Play Store, and was only available on certain Android devices that it came pre-installed with.


Today, all that changes since the new owners of Swype, Nuance Communications, have finally released the keyboard on the Play Store. The keyboard is available in a trial as well as a paid version. The paid version is up for grabs for $0.99 right now, with its price set to increase after a few days.

While Swype truly was revolutionary when it first came in the keyboard scene, it is now barely able to keep up with its competition. SwiftKey, the most popular keyboard and one of the most popular applications on the Play Store, recently implemented its Flow technique of typing that is similar to Swype’s implementation. SwiftKey’s implementation is arguably superior since it allows users to have up to three languages active simultaneously. This makes typing in different languages simultaneously much more easier in SwiftKey compared to Swype.

Play Store Link

Verizon Samsung Stratosphere Gets A Software Update

Back in 2011, Samsung launched the entry-level Stratosphere smartphone for the Verizon Wireless subscribers in the US. This handset was specially designed for those who wanted to experience a touchscreen smartphone with physical QWERTY keypad. Samsung Stratosphere was originally shipped with the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. Sadly, this handset failed to receive the newer Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS.

Later this week, Verizon will roll out a much-needed software update for the Stratosphere users. Before you get too excited, let me tell you that the update will not bring the Android 4.0 OS. This update brings improved call clarity, improved reliability when sending emails using Outlook and much more. The complete changelog is posted below.



  • Improved clarity during calls
  • Improved reliability when sending emails using Outlook
  • Improvements to Sync and Connect server have been made
  • My Verizon application has been improved
  • Improvements have been made to the Set Up Wizard to clarify what is required in the Google Setup screen
  • Correct the IMAP implementation related to the E-mail Sync and connect operation
  • The following applications have been removed as preloaded: IM, Blockbuster, Verizon Video and Verizon Vcast
  • Single Sign On application has been updated to version v3.1.9
  • VZtones version 5.1.3 has been added

Verizon is expected to roll out this update by the end of this week. You can easily download this update via Over-The-Air (OTA). To learn more, check out this PDF file.

Sony Working On Bringing AOSP Support To Xperia Z

Showing its support for developers and love for stock Android, Sony has created an AOSP project for its latest flagship – the Xperia Z. The Xperia S started the trend of AOSP project from Sony, and the Z takes it a step further.

The AOSP project will be maintained by two senior developers at Sony, Johan Redestig and Bjorn Andersson. The AOSP project is Sony’s way to supporting the open source community, and allowing developers to run stock Android on their handset.

Below is a video of AOSP running on the Xperia Z -:

Currently, AOSP on the Xperia Z is still not good enough for day-to-day use because of the reliance on some binaries that Sony is not allowed to share. In its current form, Sony has managed to get SD-Card, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Notification LED and partial sensors to work under AOSP on the Xperia Z. While the radio and camera also work, they require some binaries that Sony cannot share with the general public.

The good news is that going forward Sony will work on replacing the binaries with their open-source drivers and make the NFC binaries available as well. If you are a developer, you can help Sony in making the Xperia Z supported by AOSP by contributing your own code. Head over to the AOSP for Xperia Z project on Github for the issues list, and to get yourself familiar with the code.

AOSP stands for Android Open Source Project, and is what the Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus and other Nexus devices from Google run when combined with a few proprietary binaries. AOSP always contains the latest version of Android, which in this case is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Xperia Z runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out-of-the-box.

Via – Sony Developer World

Google Glass Consumer Version Might Still Be An Year Away

Google Glass was intially supposed to release sometime by the end of this year for less than $1500. However, it looks like Google might just need some more time. In a radio interview with BBC, Eric Schmidt said that the consumer version of the Glass is still “probably a year-ish away”.


Google Glass is probably the hottest thing in the technology world aside from the usual Galaxies and iPhones. With Google sending out Explorer edition of the Glass to developers and popular celebrities out there, the world is waiting patiently to see how developers harness the power of the Glass.While more developers will be able to get their hands on the Glass by the end of this year, the final retail version of the device might just not hit the shelves this year, as expected.

Google will be taking feedback from all the developers that will be using the Glass over the next few months, and incorporate the changes in the final version of the device.

However, since Eric Schmidt is not directly involved with Google Glass, there might be a small possibility of him being wrong here.

Via – The Verge

Huawei A199 Announced In China; Comes With 5 Inch HD Display, Android 4.1 OS

Huawei recently announced the mid-range Huawei A199 smartphone in its home country. This handset was previously leaked by @evleaks as the Huawei Ascend G710. However, the manufacturer decided to launch this device with a brand new name in China. The Huawei A199 packs a 5 inch HD display and a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor.

This handset runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System with Huawei’s Emotion UI on top of it. Huawei A199 also comes with dual-mode dual-SIM support, which works perfectly on a CDMA network as well as on a GSM network at the same time. Check out the complete specs below.


Huawei Ascend A199 features a 5 inch HD touch screen display, sporting a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, 1.5 GHz Huawei K3V2 quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, Huawei Emotion UI, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and so on.

It also comes with the usual 3.5 mm headset jack, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Bluetooth, DLNA, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, Micro SD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, A-GPS, MicroUSB 2.0, Google Play Store and a 2150 mAh battery.

The China Telecom logo is placed right below the camera. It clearly indicates that the Huawei A199 will be available for China Telecom subscribers at launch. This handset is also expected to be available for China Unicom subscribers in the coming days. The price of this device will be announced soon. Stay tuned!

HTC One Uses Nokia’s HAAC Mics — Let The Court Room War Start!

The One from HTC might signify the best of what the Taiwanese OEM has to offer, but the handset keeps getting itself into trouble. First, the handset’s launch was delayed by a couple of weeks all over the world, and now, it looks like HTC is using Nokia’s HAAC’s (High-amplitude mics) on the One. As of now, Nokia has been granted a preliminary injunction against HTC in Netherlands.

It is not entirely’s HTC fault though, as ST Electronics is the company that makes the HAAC mics for both the companies. However, the components were exclusively invented and manufactured for Nokia by ST Electronics, and were not meant to be shared with any other company.


If Nokia does manage to get an injunction, HTC will be forced to look for alternative solutions and might even have to remove the feature altogether from the One.

The full press release from Nokia is pretty aggressive as well, and directly tells HTC to “compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia.”

Full Press Release below -:

“The Amsterdam District Court has today granted Nokia’s request for a preliminary injunction against the supply to HTC of microphone components invented by and manufactured exclusively for Nokia.

Nokia filed this action after it discovered these components in the HTC One; HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed.

In its marketing materials, HTC claims that its HDR microphone is a key feature for the HTC One, but it is Nokia technology, developed exclusively for use in Nokia products.

This is one of the latest in a number of cases brought by Nokia to end HTC’s unauthorized use of Nokia’s inventions. More than 40 Nokia patents have been asserted against HTC in Germany, the US and the UK. An injunction against HTC devices in Germany, which were found on March 19 to infringe Nokia’s patent EP 0 673 175, is now in effect. The latest case, on Nokia patent EP 1 579 613 B1 was filed in Mannheim, Germany on April 16.

Once again, Nokia calls on HTC to compete using its own innovations and to stop copying from Nokia.”

Via – Engadget

Sony Xperia P, go and S Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Update In “Very Final Stage”

Sony Mobile’s official Twitter account today tweeted that the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Xperia P, go, S, SL and arco S are in the final stages of testing, and that the company will release more information next week.

Sony had initially promised to update its 2012 range of selected Xperia handsets to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean by early-April. What is appalling is that while Sony has managed to update some of its lower-end Xperia devices to Jelly Bean, its 2012 flagship handset – the Xperia S – is still running a bug ridden Android 4.0.4 firmware.

The official tweet from Sony is as follows -:

Just a quick update to say we hear you re: JB 4.1 for Xperia P & Go, (S, SL, acro S and ion). Work’s in v. final stage – more news next week

Since Sony has mentioned the name of the Xperia S, SL, acro S and ion in parenthesis, it might very well be possible that the updates for these phones won’t be available immediately.

While Sony is still struggling to update its 2012 flagship devices to Jelly Bean, Samsung not only updated its 2012 flagship – the Galaxy S3 – to Jelly Bean, but also updated its 2011 flagship – the Galaxy S2 – to Android 4.1.2.

Via – Xperia Blog


Chrome Beta For Android Updated — Fixes Graphical Corruption And Crashes

Last night, the Chrome team updated the beta version of Chrome for Android to v27.0.1453.60 that includes some bug-fixes and includes some new bugs as well.


The list of bugs that have been squashed are as follows -:

  • 226691: Graphical corruption and blank tabs in tab switcher mode
  • 222805: Most Visited section thumbnails are misaligned in landscape mode for RTL languages
  • 228883: Search is still performed via Google when re-submitting omnibox query after switching search engine
  • Flicker while opening new tabs
  • Fixes for some frequently occurring crashes
  • chrome://history sometimes show duplicate items

However, being a beta some bugs are still present in this update including page flickering during navigation, and Chrome lagging when opening a new tab.

On my Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S3, Chrome and Chorme Beta are completely unusable for me. They both lag and stutter while loading slightly heavy websites, and even general zooming and panning around is not satisfactory. Given that both the phones in question here have quad-core CPUs, this is completely unacceptable.

Hopefully, the move to a new rendering engine in Chrome – Blink – will solve all the lag and rendering issues of Chrome for Android. A blink engine based Chrome version for Android, however, at best, is still more than a couple of months away.

HTC Desire L Launched In Taiwan

Earlier this month, HTC launched the Desire P smartphone in Taiwan, Now, the Taiwanese mobile phone manufacturer has launched yet another mid-range smartphone in its home country. The HTC Desire L packs a 4.3 inch touchscreen display with 1 GHz dual-core processor. This handset is expected to be shipped with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. HTC Desire L is basically a larger version of the HTC Desire X smartphone.


HTC Desire L features a 4.3 inch Super LCD 2 touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, HTC Sense 4.1 UI, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, F2.0 aperture, 28mm wide-angle lens, Beats Audio and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, NFC (Near Field Communication), A-GPS with GLONASS and a 1800 mAh battery.

Apart from Taiwan, the HTC Desire L is expected to go on sale in other Asian countries including China. However, HTC might not launch this device in Europe and North America. The price and availability of the Desire L will be announced soon.

Galaxy Note II (US Cellular) From An iPhone User’s Perspective


As a long time iOS user, I’ve always been a bit turned off by larger screened smartphones, or as some say, the ‘Phablet’. These devices are hybrids between tablets and smartphones, with screens usually ranging between 5″ – 5.5″. And up until recently, I hadn’t had the chance to play around with one of these devices on a day-to-day basis. However, this all changed recently when I received a Samsung Galaxy Note II on the US Cellular network to play around with for a couple of months. Below, I’ve compiled my thoughts on the Android experience on such a large device from an iPhone user’s perspective.

Note: I’ve been an iPhone user for quite sometime. Back in 2009 I got my hands on an iPhone 3GS after switching from Windows Mobile 6.5. Before the 3GS, I was the owner of a first and second-generation iPod touch, so I’ve had quite some time with iOS throughout my life. Day-to-day, I use an iPhone 5, iPad mini and a third-generation iPad with Retina Display. I’ve had experience with Android in the past and have tried out many devices like the Galaxy S III  and the Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Since the Galaxy Note II’s flagship feature is its enormous screen, I feel obligated to cover it first. During my time with the device, I found that the screen was great for watching movies and drawing with the S-pen (more on that later), but was unnecessary during regular use. Also, because of the Note’s giant screen, it’s next to impossible to use the device with one hand. When taking calls, the Galaxy Note II feels awkward and unnatural due to its screen size. However, though the screen is enormous, it’s very clear and is on-par with my iPhone 5 and iPad with Retina Display. This is due to the device’s 1,280 x 720 Super AMOLED display that looks fabulous in low-light and high-light situations.

As far as performance goes, the Note II is by far the smoothest Android device I’ve used. The device is responsive for the most part and graphic intensive games seem to run flawlessly. This stellar performance is due to the fact that the smartphone is running Android 4.1 and is powered by a quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and 2GB of RAM. This gives the phone all the power needed to run the latest cutting edge Android games.

While the Galaxy Note II’s specs may look better than the iPhone 5 on paper, there’s just something about Android and the Galaxy Note II that feels a bit off. For instance, when using the Note II’s web browser, I often find the device over-scrolling. I’ve also found the Galaxy Note II to be overly snappy when performing system transitions and animations, giving the user interface an unnatural feeling.

The Note II also includes an S Pen, or as I like to say, a glorified stylus. You can use the pen to control the device like you would with your finger, but it can also be used to draw and jot handwritten notes with the S Note application. In theory, this would work well due to the Note II’s massive screen, right? Wrong. Taking handwritten notes with the S Pen feels quite awkward due to the short length of the S Pen itself. The Note II also doesn’t have enough room on the its screen to allow me to comfortably rest my hand when jotting notes. Because of these two factors, I often found my hand slipping off of the Note’s screen, sending my S Pen falling to the floor.

Even though I think the Galaxy Note II is a well performing Android device, it won’t switch me from my good ol’ iPhone. This is mainly due to the fact that the Note II’s screen size and Android OS still seem a bit unnatural to me, though I did throughly enjoy using the device for streaming Netflix videos. However, if you’re a fan of large mobile phone screens and enjoy having the customizability of Android, you’ll probably love the device.

All in all, the Galaxy Note II is a great phone if you’re on the US Cellular network. If you wish to purchase one for yourself, expect to pay $299.99 upfront for a 16GB model on a two-year contract. If you’d prefer to go contract free on US Cellular, the Note II will run you a whopping $799.99.