Sony Ericsson Xperia Acro Leaked

Details of a new Android powered smartphone by Sony Ericsson have been leaked on the Sony Ericsson PC Companion tool which is bundled with Sony Ericsson phones. The Sony Ericsson Acro will apparently be launched in Japan.

It is an improved version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and comes with NFC, TV Tuner and infrared capabilities, features which are used a lot by the Japanese smartphone users.

It will be slightly fatter than the Xperia Arc and will come with a 4.2 inch display, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and an 8.1 MP Exmor R camera. It will be very similar to the Xperia Arc, and will come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It will sport all the basics – EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA and GPS with A-GPS.

There will be two versions of the device – the Xperia Acro S0-02C, which is a GSM version and the Xperia Acro IS11S, which is a CDMA version. The Xperia Acro is expected to launch around June this year.

Here is the screenshot of the Xperia Acro in the Sony Ericsson PC Companion tool.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Acro

For more details on the Xperia Acro, head over to Xperia Blog

LG Launches the Optimus 2X and Optimus Black in India

Today, LG announced the launch of the LG Optimus 2X and the LG Optimus Black in India. The LG Optimus 2X is priced at Rs 30,000 while the Optimus Black will be be priced a tad lower at Rs 27,000.

The LG Optimus 2X is the first dual core smartphone which is powered by Android 2.2 Froyo. It will be upgraded to Android 2.3 Gingerbread soon, and comes with a 1 GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 512 MB RAM. It has a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen display and comes with an 8 MP camera and 8 GB internal storage.

The LG Optimus Black is the first phone with a Nova display which comes with Android 2.2 Froyo as well. It is also supposed to receive an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread and will come with a 5 MP camera, a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. It has 2 GB internal storage and a 4 inch Nova display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels.

Both the Optimus 2X and the Optimus Black will be available soon.

LG Optimus 2X, Optimus Black

“Smart phones have marked the beginning of a new era and undoubtedly 2011 will be the year of smart phones in India. India market is already witnessing a huge demand for these futuristic devices and this demand will tremendously grow in coming years. At LG, we are highly focused on innovation based on thorough consumer research, that helps us prioritize consumer choice as a key strategy for expanding our footprint in the mobile industry. Our endeavours in the Smart phone category is to bring the latest in technology offerings simultaneously with global introduction in order to give our consumers the best.” said Mr. Vishal Chopra, Business Head, Mobile Communication, LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd.

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Priced at £300; Launching on April 20

Acer Iconia Tab A100Acer announced the Iconia Tab Android tablets way back in January. It was going to launch two Iconia Tab tablets – the A100 and the A500. The A500 is a 10.1 inch Android Honeycomb tablet while the A100 is a 7 inch tablet, also powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

After the initial announcement, the Iconia Tab just went off the radar for some time. It was spotted again only at CeBit then.

Today, Amazon UK has put up the Acer Iconia Tab A100 for pre-order. It is priced at £300 ($485) and will start shipping on April 20. Generally, the prices in the UK are much higher than the prices in the US, so we could expect a sub $400 price point for Iconia Tab A100 in the US.

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Specifications

The Acer Iconia Tab A100 has a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It comes with a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 512 MB RAM. It has 8 GB internal storage and comes with a 5 MP camera. It comes with Android 3.0 Honeycomb and offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also has an HDMI port and can play 1080p videos.

Check out more details at Amazon UK

via NetbookNews

Happy Hour Over for Carriers and Manufacturers as Google Attempts to Control Android Fragmentation

The openness of Android is both its biggest asset, and its biggest headache. On one hand the open nature has allowed a wide range of apps to flourish, while on the other, it has been exploited to spread malware. The open nature has enabled manufacturers to add to the Android experience through custom shells like HTC Sense, but it has also led to a fragmented ecosystem.

AndroidUnlike Apple (iOS) and Microsoft (Windows Phone 7), Google has almost no say on when Android version updates are rolled out to users. We have seen manufacturers like Dell and Sony Ericsson launching high-end handsets with Android versions that were more than a year old. We have seen carriers like AT&T indefinitely delaying updates that have already been pushed out by the manufacturer. Worse still, carriers and manufacturers often claim that all this is done in your best interest! However, things are about to change.

According to Bloomberg Business Week, Google will be providing early-access to Android code only to those manufactures who get their plans approved by none other than Andy Rubin. Google has also begun demanding that Android licensees abide by “non-fragmentation clauses” that allow Google to control what partners can do with Android code. Although these clauses have been included in Android’s license for a long time, it’s only recently that Google begun flexing its muscles.

As much as I relish the open nature of the Android eco-system, there needs to be some quality control mechanism in place. Carriers and manufacturers shouldn’t be allowed to get away with preposterous delays. They shouldn’t be allowed to cripple Android by limiting features or installing crapware. When Android was initially announced, Google was dependent on the carriers and manufactures for its success. Now, it is in a position where it can exert its control for the benefit of the ecosystem. Let’s hope that this year will finally see Google stepping up and preventing the openness of Android being misused.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Boot Loader Finally Bypassed, Custom Kernel Released

It took more than a year, but the devs at XDA-Developers have finally made it happen. The Xperia X10 boot loader has been bypassed, which means that installation of custom kernels is now possible.

There are already dozens of custom ROMs available for Xperia X10, including some pretty decent FroYo (Android 2.2) and Gingerbread (Android 2.3) ROMs. However, the locked-down boot loader meant that all of them had to use the official kernel (2.6.29).

Although Sony Ericsson has announced that it will be allowing power users to unlock the boot loader in the near future, users of older Xperia models (Xperia X10/X10 Mini/X10 Mini Pro/X8) won’t be getting this privilege. Thankfully, Zdzihu, of the FreeX10 fame, has managed to load a fully working custom kernel. He has released an alpha kernel, which is a modified version of the stock 2.6.29 kernel, as a proof of concept. Among other things, the patched kernel does away with the artificially imposed frame-rate cap, implements netfilter, and reduces the voltage to conserve battery.


Quite obviously, the alpha release of the modified kernel isn’t suitable for daily use. However, this does open up a lot of new possibilities, and gives the developers more freedom. Zdzihu will soon start working on porting the Gingerbread kernel from Xperia Arc. In the meanwhile check out video demonstrating the enhanced fluidity of the interface with Z’s custom kernel.

HTC Flyer to Get Android 3.0 Honeycomb Update

HTC was one of the last major Android device manufacturers to announce an Android tablet. It was a bit late, compared to Samsung, Motorola and LG. But at MWC 2011, it finally announced its first Android tablet – the HTC Flyer.

While it had superb hardware specifications, it came with Android Gingerbread, which is actually meant for Android smartphones, not tablets. Most of the other tablets will come with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but HTC hadn’t announced whether it will be bringing Android 3.0 Honeycomb to the Flyer.

Today, HTC has officially announced that it will be offering an upgrade to Honeycomb for the HTC Flyer, in reply to a query by @GeekHangover.

“@Geekhangover We will be offering a Honeycomb upgrade when it’s made available. What feature are you most excited about?”

The HTC Flyer has a 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It comes with a 1.5 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. It also has 32 GB internal storage.

It will come with a 5 MP camera and has everything in terms of connectivity – Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and HSPA connectivity.

It currently comes with Android Gingerbread with the HTC Sense UI. It is powered by a 4000 mAh battery. Check out the Complete Specifications of HTC Flyer Tablet.


Amazon To Release An Android Handset With Solar Charging And Mirasol Display!

Amazon recently launched its own AppStore to compete with Google’s own Android Market. Even though Amazon’s AppStore is available only for people based in the U.S, it has been pretty well received by the mass.

Not only does Amazon give away one popular app for free everyday, its AppStore also has some features which the Android Market lacks. Amazon also launched its Cloud based music player for the Android and Windows OS, so as to compete with Google’s upcoming Music service.


Now, the folks over at AndroidPolice have got their hands on an upcoming Android handset, to be released by Amazon! The code-name of the handset is Blaze’ and it will be powered by a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor from Qualcomm, and pack 512MB of RAM.

Other specs of the handset include 32GB of internal storage, 5MP camera at the back, 1.3MP camera in the front for video calling, MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), NFC chip, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1700mAh battery and a 4.3-inch Mirasol’ display. Amazon will launch the handset with Android 2.3 Gingerbread on-board, with their own custom skin running on top of it.

According to the tipster, the Mirasol’ display will not require any backlighting to display content, which means it is going to be light on power consumption. Apparently, the back of the phone will also sport a solar panel, which will be made up of a new material unlike other solar panels which are made up of copper.

To know more about Amazon’s Blaze handset, readers should head over to this link.

Google Is Working On a Face Detection App

Update: Google just clarified that they are not yet working on a Face detection app and there were factual errors in the CNN report. See the bottom of the post for an updated statement from Google.

Google is working on face identification software that will detect your face and display personal information about you. The product will be available as a mobile app. For this app to work, you have to opt-in and allow Google access to your personal information and to your picture for the identification purpose. The concept sounds cool, and Google can deliver a killer app if they manage to keep the creep factor out of this app.

This app can raise some serious privacy outcry. Hartmut Neven, the Google engineering director for image-recognition development says,

In order to be identified by the software, people would have to check a box agreeing to give Google permission to access their pictures and profile information. We recognize that Google has to be extra careful when it comes to these [privacy] issues.

The project is still in an initial stage and there is no release date yet. However, Google says that people have been asking for a feature like this, from a long time. However, Google has too much to lose if it makes a wrong move in this project. This will always be a constrain in services involving user’s privacy.

This can do wonders when combined with the Social aspect Google has been working on. Overall, the app will be received well as people will love to appear on a people-search powered by Google.

Update: I spoke with a Google spokesperson who denied that they are working on a face recognition app for Google Goggles or other technologies.

Statement From A Google Spokesperson

As we’ve said for more than a year, we will not add facial recognition to Goggles unless we have strong privacy protections in place. We’re still working on them. We have nothing to announce at this time.

Update 2: CNN also issued a statement in support of the reporter saying that they stand by him and the interview was arrange by Google PR themselves.

Google’s claims do not fit the facts of the situation. This interview was prearranged on the record and staffed by a Google PR rep, who raised no objections at the time and did not deny what the engineer said. Additionally, we have an audio recording of the interview, as does Google. We stand firmly behind Mark’s reporting.

Additional reporting by Keith Dsouza.

Samsung Galaxy S Plus Specs Leaks; 2011 Edition Of Galaxy S

Looks like Samsung is still not done with the most popular Android handset of last year the Galaxy S.

Samsung will soon launch the Galaxy S Plus which will sport the same specs as that of the original Galaxy S, with some subtle changes.


The Galaxy S Plus will be powered by a 1.4 GHz single core Snapdragon processor along with an Adreno 205 GPU and pack 512MB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage. The Galaxy S Mini will pack the same 4-inch beautiful Super-AMOLED screen with WVGA (800×480) resolution, found on the original Galaxy S.

The back of the handset sports a 5MP camera with HD video recording. The usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio port are also present. Unlike the Galaxy S, the S Plus will come with a 1650mAh battery and a metal back plate.

The handset will launch with the latest version of Android OS Gingerbread along with Samsung’s TouchWIZ UI 3.0 on top of it. The S Plus is expected to be announced in April for around $800.

Kyocera Echo Up For Pre-Order At Sprint For $199.99

Last month, Kyocera Communications announced Kyocera Echo, the world’s first dual-touchscreen smartphone. This handset runs on the Android 2.2 operating system. Kyocera Echo will be exclusively available on the airwaves of Sprint in the US. It comes with an amazing VueQue app, which allows you to watch a YouTube video in one display, while browsing, queuing and buffering additional YouTube videos on the other.

Recently, we posted that, Sprint will release the amazing Kyocera Echo smartphone on April 17th for $199.99 on contract. If you are eagerly waiting to buy this handset, then you can pre-order this handset. Sprint has recently started taking pre-orders for the Kyocera Echo smartphone. If you are still unaware of the specs, then you can check out the complete specs below.

kyocera echo

Kyocera Echo features a dual 3.5-inch LCD WVGA with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 4.7 inches diagonally and 800 x 960 pixels resolution when opened, Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and 2x digital zoom, HD (720p) video recording, 1GB memory, 8GB microSD card included, 32GB expandable memory and more.

Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, Digital compass, accelerometer, proximity sensor, light sensor, GPS, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Full HTML Web browser optimized for dual-screen experience and a 1370 mAh battery.

This handset comes with a price tag of $199.99 after a $100 mail rebate and a two years service agreement. To pre-order this handset, head over to this page.