CyanogenMod 7 Final Released; Supports More Than 30 Devices

The final version of CyanogenMod 7 has finally been released! After being in testing for more than 4 months, and releasing more than 35+ nightly builds, the CM team has released the final version of one of the most popular custom ROM based on AOSP.

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CM7 is based on the latest version of Android i.e. Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), and features some nifty features like a DSP Manager, Incognito mode in browser, multiple lock screen styles, Phone Goggles and support for themes!

In its latest version, CM7 supports more than 30 devices including the Nexus S, Nexus One, Desire HD, Desire Z, EVO 4G, Hero, Nook Color and the Tattoo.

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I have already been using CM7 right since the first RC was released, and I have absolutely no doubt that it’s the best AOSP based ROM out there.

The whole change-log of CM7 can be found here. Readers interested in flashing CM7 on their Android handset must make sure that their handset is already rooted. The easiest way of flashing CM7 on a rooted Android handset, is to use ROM Manager. Alternatively, readers can download CM7 for their handset from here.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo Launch Delayed Until July

Sony Ericsson (Italy) have announced via their Facebook page that the launch of the Xperia Neo has been pushed back to July.

The reason behind the delay is due to all the havoc caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, from where Sony Ericsson’s sources its handsets part.

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Here is the official statement from Sony Ericsson over the Neo’s delay :

"Xperia Neo has already been introduced to the marketplace in limited quantities," Sony Ericsson said."However, due to supply chain disruptions resulting from the situation in Japan, we have shifted the timing of Xperia Neo’s broader launch and it is now planned for early third quarter."

Sony Ericsson announced a bunch of Xperia branded handsets at the MWC 2011 including the highly anticipated Xperia Play. The company launched the Xperia Play and the Arc in quite a few regions of the world, last week.

The Xperia Neo is already available in certain regions of the world, but in extremely limited quantities. Hopefully, the situation in Japan will improve sooner than later and normalcy of the supply chain will be restored.

Google Brings Enterprise Control To Android

With Android being one of the leading smartphone operating systems and very rapidly climbing the charts in deployment, it’s well received news that Google is aligning their mobile offerings to include enterprise-level controls to compete in the business market.Google has updated their Device Policyapplication to include the ability for users to control their Android devices by way of tracking it via GPS, activating the ringer or resetting the PIN or password on the device. In the event that an employee or regular Apps user loses their device, they can use the online remote functionality to retrieve or secure their phone. Administrators and users can set up multiple devices in a new page that provides detailed information about each synchronized device (a tablet or smartphone) and plots the last known location. Devices must be running Android 2.2 or higher in order to use this feature.

Continuing along with the ability to remotely secure a device, Google Apps administrators now also have the option to force encryption for data stored on the device (supporting Android 3.0/Honeycomb tablets with encrypted storage). This will greatly reduce some of the risks that organizations take when employees wish to bring personal devices to work, it will allow security provisioning for any data exfiltration to ensure it is stored properly. Presumably, this can be done on a device-by-device basis allowing administrators to specifically select which devices have this set.

The last minor, yet very welcomed addition is Google Apps Lookup, which provides a much easier way for users to search their corporate address book for a contact. Similar to Microsoft’s Exchange Global Address List (GAL), mobile users can enter the name of a contact (by speech or text input) and the app will automatically search the online Apps directory for the contact and provide all the available information for the user to interact with as a regular contact in their device address book. This feature is available to Android devices running 2.1 or higher and must be enabled by the Apps administrator.

With personal devices making their way into the corporate environment, many organizations are feeling the weight of providing support for numerous devices yet retaining control and security over sensitive information. Google is taking steps in the right direction to take Blackberry head-on with some competition in the enterprise market.

Via Google Enterprise Blog

Acer Iconia Tab A500 Priced at $450; Shipping on April 24

Acer announced the Iconia Tab A500 Android tablet back at CES 2011. It is one of the two Android tablets by Acer which will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the other one being the Acer Iconia Tab A100, which has a 7 inch display.

Today, Acer announced that it will be launching the Acer Iconia Tab A500 on April 24, for $450. It is priced very competitively and comes with a 10.1 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It comes with a dual core Nvidia Tegra 250 Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1 GHz and 1 GB RAM.

It has 16 GB internal storage and comes with a 5 MP camera as well as a 2 MP secondary camera for video calls. It can play 1080p videos with ease and also supports HDMI out.

It is powered by a pair of 3260 mAh batteries which can provide 8 hours of HD video playback or 10 hours of Wi-Fi usage. It comes with the latest version of the Android OS – Android 3.0 Honeycomb – which is meant specifically for tablets.

It weighs only 1.69 pounds and has dimensions of 10.24 x 6.97 x 0.52 inches. You can pre-order it at Best Buy right away.

Staying connected and entertained are firmly embedded as a part of our everyday lives and the Acer Iconia Tab A500 does this and so much more in a performance-minded, sleek and stylish design,said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product marketing, Acer America, in the press release. This tablet absolutely delivers on the expectation that customers can be entertained, stay in touch with family, friends, colleagues and social networks, as well as keep up on the world around them in a way that is intuitive and fluid, and also incredibly enjoyable.

Acer Iconia Tab A500

Pandora on Android and iOS Leaks Out Personal Information Back to Ad Servers

Whenever you install an app on your Android or iOS device, you are entering into an agreement to allow a certain level of control on your phone and its data. However, people hardly care about the implications and seemingly, neither do app manufacturers anymore.
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Veracode is an independent security firm investigating into privacy of Android apps and Pandora has emerged as the new culprit of data leakage. Pandora sends a massive amount of personal information including your GPS data, device ID, connection ID, Device brand, model, birth date and gender back to ad servers. That is some serious breach of privacy and Pandora has declined to comment on this at all.

The folks over at Veracode have expressed their concern by saying,

In isolation some of this data is uninteresting, but when compiled into a single unifying picture, it can provide significant insight into a person’s life. Consider for a moment that your current location is being tracked while you are at your home, office, or significant other’s house. Couple that with your gender and age and then with your geolocated IP address. When all that is placed into a single basket, it’s pretty easy to determine who someone is, what they do for a living, who they associate with, and any number of other traits about them. I don’t know about you, but that feels a little Orwellian to me.

Pandora might argue that the data collected through this process is used to serve personalized content but sending it to advertisement servers is not something the users opt-in for.

Google Apps to Get More Control and Enterprise Services over Android Devices

We have always know that Google has a certain level of remote control over Android devices and now, Google wants to pass on some of this control to Google apps as well. Google has decided to add IT administration tools to Google Apps and Google Product Manager Mayur Kamat has announced this by saying,

Today we are announcing three more updates to our Android for business portfolio around security and connecting with colleagues. These products will be available to all Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers.

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Google has announced that enterprise employees using Google Apps can quickly locate a lost device on a map and can either ring the device or reset the PIN on the device. To perform this operation, they need to go to this page. Google has also introduced a new feature that allows us to encrypt all the data on Android 3.0 based tablets. To take corporate support to the next level, Google has introduced a Corporate Contacts app that allows users to effectively manage all communications within the organization.

You can setup Google Apps device policy and  Google Apps lookup at the given links.Though, Google Apps device supports are available only for Google Apps Business and Education customers. Finally, Google is taking some steps to monetize the Android ecosystem and might be the first of many steps in integrating enterprise Google services with Android.

Android to Capture 50% of Worldwide Smartphone Market by 2012?

Android has been seeing exponential growth in the past few months. It accounted for close to 22% of the worldwide smartphone market share in 2010. Thanks to the continued support of manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson, it is expected to be the number one smartphone platform by the end of 2011.

Today, Gartner released a research report which states that Android is expected to have a 38.5% market share by the end of 2011, and by the end of 2012, it will power almost 50% of all smartphones. It predicts that Symbian will be the biggest loser in the whole ordeal, and Android and Windows Phone 7 will be the biggest gainers. iOS marketshare will remain pretty stable through the years, and it might even see some gains.

Microsoft is expected to be the second largest mobile platform by 2015, with a 19.5% market share, thanks to Nokia’s support. Symbian will be almost extinct by then and RIM’s share will have dwindled down to 11%. iOS would apparently be at 17% while Android would rule the roost with a 49% share.

The predictions seem realistic, if we factor in what we know now, but it doesn’t account for anything unexpected. A lot has changed in the last 4 years with the launch of the iPhone and Android. There’s is no reason something similar couldn’t happen again.

T-Mobile LG G2X Priced at $199; Available From April 15

T-Mobile LG G2XT-Mobile and LG announced the G2X at CTIA 2011, exactly 2 weeks back. It is an Android smartphone identical to the LG Optimus 2X, but comes with the T-Mobile branding.

Today, T-Mobile has confirmed on Twitter that the G2X will be available online starting April 15, and in stores on April 20. It will be priced at $199 after a mail-in rebate of $50 and a 2 year contract.

@TMobile: Official date/price: T-Mobile G2x, avail. online 4/15 & in stores 4/20. $199.99 after $50 MIR & 2-yr contract. http://cot.ag/g27fo3

The LG G2X will be one of the best Android smartphones on T-Mobile. It comes with Android 2.2 Froyo, with an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread coming soon. It doesn’t have any custom UI, which is what many users would love, and comes with Swype.

It has a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and comes with a dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor and 512 MB RAM. It has 8 GB internal storage.

It also has an 8 MP camera with AF and LED flash, capable of shooting 1080p videos, as well as a 1.3 MP secondary camera which can be used for video calls via Qik. It will be the first phone to ship with Tegra Zone and will offer support for T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network.

Motorola Droid X2 And HTC’s Incredible 2 Pictures Leak

The folks over at Android Central have managed to get their hands on some leaked pictures of the upcoming Motorola Droid X2 and the HTC Droid Incredible 2.

The Incredible S from HTC will get a minor speed bump and will be powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and pack 768MB of RAM. The handset will also feature the same curvy back, as its predecessor.

The back of the phone sports an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash. Rumors also suggest that the Incredible 2 will feature wireless charging. Sadly, the handset will launch with Android 2.2.1 on-board. HTC and Verizon are yet to announce a release date for the Incredible 2.

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The Droid X2 from Motorola looks similar to its predecessor the Droid X. The handset sports the same 4.3-inch display with a higher qHD resolution. The X2 will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset and pack 1GB of RAM. The back of the handset will sport an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash. Sadly, there is no video call camera in the front.

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While Motorola has retained the mini-HDMI port, the camera shutter key has been dropped from the Droid X2. The phone will launch with Android 2.2.2 with the latest version of MotoBlur running on top of it.

At the moment, it is unknown whether the X2 or the Incredible 2 will support Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Both the phones will be released under Verizon’s Droid brand.

Hopefully, Verizon and Motorola/HTC will announce the phone in the next couple of weeks.

Google’s New Music Player For Android Leaked!

Back in December, last year the Android 3.0 Honeycomb music player APK file leaked on to the Internet.

It was the same music player which Google had previewed at the Google I/O in 2010. The last APK of the music player that leaked was pretty buggy and slow.

However, TechFrom10 somehow managed to get access to the test’ version of Android Market, and was able to download the latest version of the upcoming Music Player from Google. He was also able to download some other goodies like a Camera app, Desk Clock and the 3D Gallery app.

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The new version of Android 3.0 Honeycomb music player is much better, both in terms of performance and stability. The UI has also been tweaked by Google, and the app looks simply gorgeous in landscape mode. As mentioned earlier, the app also supports music streaming using your Google Account and syncing via W-Fi.

Sadly, the Desk Clock, Camera and the 3D Gallery app will just refuse to start on any of the Android phones I tried. Nevertheless, users can download the latest version of Music player from here.

(Source)