After a delay of a couple of months, Samsung has finally started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy Note (N7000). Like the ICS update for the Galaxy S2, the Android 4.0 update for the Galaxy Note does not bring much visual changes, but does bring a lot of usability improvements, new features and some premium suite of apps so as to compensate for the delay in rolling out the update.
Other features brought about by this update include Face Unlock, GPU Rendering, a slightly tweaked UI, improved performance and memory management, new Google Apps and a bunch of new S-Pen optimized apps from Samsung. Below is a video of the Premium suite of apps in action on the Galaxy Note -:
The update is being rolled out via OTA in certain region, and weighs in a whopping 300MB+ in size so make sure that you have a stable net connection before proceeding with the update. The update is also available via KIES for the Galaxy Note owners in Germany.
Sony has just unveiled two new Android powered handsets for its home market (Japan) – the Xperia GX and Xperia SX. The Xperia GX is the bigger and better of the two, and sports a 4.6-inch HD display with 720p HD resolution and Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine. It will also sport a whopping 13MP camera at its back aided by an LED flash. The handset has a pretty slim profile, and looks similar to the Xperia Arc/Arc S.
The Xperia SX will sport a much smaller 3.7-inch Braiva Reality Display with qHD (960×640) resolution. Sony also claims that the NX is the lightest LTE handset around in the market. Internally, both the handsets are powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 processor, an Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory. At the back of the handset is an 8MP Exmor R sensor aided by an LED flash.
The handsets run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Sony’s custom UI on top of it, and also use on-screen navigation buttons like the Galaxy Nexus. Some Japan specific features like Mobile Wallet, Infrared and Mobile TV will also be present, along with support for LTE networks. The handsets should hit the retail market of Japan sometime this summer.
The Xperia NX and GX are way better than the Xperia NXT line-up of handsets that are available from Sony all over the world. Sadly, these handsets will not be available outside Japan for some strange reason known only to Sony. It looks like Sony is intentionally killing itself by not releasing outstanding phones outside of Japan.
Prior to today’s announcement, most of the talk around the Galaxy S3 was about its meaty quad-core Exynos processor and gorgeous Super AMOLED HD screen. However, the biggest selling point for the Galaxy S3 will probably not be its hardware, but its software. Samsung has clearly invested a lot of effort to distinguish its flagship from other Android handsets. Samsung repeatedly described the new Galaxy as a handset that sees, listens, and responds. Let’s have a look at exactly what that means.
It Sees: The Galaxy S3 will use its front camera to track your eye to automatically determine whether you are looking at the screen or not. The display will remain bright even if it has been inactive for a prolonged duration, if the Smart Stay feature determines that you are reading an eBook or surfing the web.
It Listens: Inspired by Apple’s Siri, Samsung has developed its own voice recognition app called S Voice. It will support eight languages including English (US and UK), German, Italian, Spanish, and Korean. It can be used to activate the phone, surf the web, launch apps, check weather, send email and SMS, manage appointments, and more. However, unlike Siri, S Voice doesn’t appear to be capable of sophisticated natural language processing. It will probably be capable of understanding a set of voice commands that you will have to memorize.
It Responds: The Galaxy S3 has as six sensors, and it will be leveraging them to understand your intentions. If you are reading an SMS from your mom, and you hold the phone next to your ear, then the Galaxy S3 will automatically understand that you wish to call your mom, and dial the number for you. Similarly, a smart alert system will alert you about missed calls by vibrating the handset the next time you pick it up.
Samsung has let the new Galaxy S3 out of the bag, and by the looks of it, it is going to be the phone of the summer. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the newest Samsung flagship, then the good news is that you probably won’t have to wait too long. The Galaxy S3 will be launching first in Europe, followed by Asia, North America, and other parts of the world.
The Galaxy S3 will launch in Europe on May 29th. The Verge believes that the 32GB model will be a Vodafone exclusive. Although Samsung didn’t provide a specific launch date for the United States, it will almost certainly receive the new Galaxy before the end of June. India and other important Asian markets are also expected to receive the Galaxy in end of May or early June. In all, the Galaxy S III will be launching in 145 countries with well over 200 partners. US and Japan will receive 4G versions, while the rest of the world will receive 3G ones. Samsung didn’t disclose how much consumers will have to shell out for the new Galaxy S III, but it definitely won’t come cheap.
Update: The unlocked Galaxy S3 will cost £499.95 in the UK.
Samsung officially unveiled the highly anticipated Galaxy S3 a short while back. Judging from what was shown in the launch event held at Earl’s Court, London, the next Galaxy more than lives up to the hype. As expected, it offers best in its class hardware. However, the S3 isn’t just a hardware revision. It is packed to the brim with intuitive and smart software enhancements that will enable Samsung to stand out in the crowd.
Samsung is dubbing the S3 as a smartphone designed for humans. The Galaxy S3 is apparently inspired by water, wind, leaves and pebbles. It sees, listens, responds, and allows you to share the greatest moments. With six sensors, and a bouquet of unique features like S Stay, S Voice, and S Beam, the Galaxy tries to understand you better than any other smartphone in the market.
The Galaxy S3 will be launching in most market towards the end of May. In order to introduce millions of users across the world to its latest blockbuster, the Korean giant has come up with an official ad. Explaining so many unique features in an ad would have always been a challenge. So Samsung isn’t even trying. The first commercial is a generic feel-good video that looks more like a mashup of travel and insurance ads more than a mobile handset campaign.
And it’s finally here! Samsung has finally unveiled the highly-anticipated successor to its 2011 flagship, the Galaxy S3. As rumors had suggested, the Galaxy S3 will come with a 4.8-inch Super-AMOLED HD screen with 1280*720 (720p) resolution. Inside the 8.6mm thin body of the handset is a quad-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.4GHz, an ARM Mali-400MP GPU, and a gig of RAM. There is also 16GB/32GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot and a 2100mAh battery to ensure that the handset lasts a full day of heavy usage. Unlike the Galaxy Nexus though, the Galaxy S3 comes with a wider physical home button as found in the previous Galaxy S handsets, and two capactive keys on each side which bizarre-ingly includes a menu key.
Like the Galaxy S2, the S3 comes with an 8MP snapper in the back and a 1.9MP camera in the front. The camera features a bigger and better sensor, so picture quality will be better than the SGS2. The camera also features Burst Shot, Best Photo and Buddy photo. Samsung also loaded TouchWIZ 5 on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to spoil the stock Android experience. However, the company has added some interesting gesture based options to the handset to differentiate the SGS3 from other Android handsets. The usual bunch of connectivity features like NFC, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, and a MHL port are also present. There is also Wireless (Inductive) charging feature present on the handset.
The ‘Smart Stay’ feature of the phone will automatically adjust the brightness of the screen when a user is reading some content on the screen via the front camera. It will also make sure that the screen of the phone does not turn off while a user is looking at it. The ‘S Voice’ feature will allow users to dictate their SMS, email, control media playback and say “Snooze” to make an alarm snooze. The “S Beam” feature will allow users to share music and videos via Wi-Fi Direct with other phones by simply tapping their phones. Samsung has also made sure to make its own copy of the Siri, which at least from the demo looks pretty cool. How effective it will be in real life is something which only time can tell.
Samsung has also gone one up on HTC, and will be offering 50GB of free space for all Galaxy S III owners on Dropbox. The Galaxy S3 will be available by the end of this month in Europe, and other regions will follow soon with the 4G version of the handset coming soon to the United States sometime in “summer”.
Back in late November last year, HTC and Verizon announced the Rezound which was the first handset from HTC to sport the Beats Audio logo in the United States. It was also the first handset from HTC to use a 720p resolution screen. However, the biggest problem with the Rezound was that it was Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich “compatible” and did not ship with the latest version of Android right out of the box.
HTC did promise to release the ICS update for the Rezound sometime in early Q1, but the company has failed pretty miserably. With Q1 already over and no ICS update for the handset in sight, the few Rezound owners are pretty much pissed. The only silver lining here is that a few Ice Cream Sandwich based firmware for the Rezound has leaked in the last couple of months, thus filling the ICS thirst for all advanced Rezound owners.
Yesterday, the folks over at Android Police managed to get their hands on a new Ice Cream Sandwich leak for the Rezound. This new leak is not the final version, but is pretty darn close to the final version. Below is the change-log of the new build compared to the previous leaks -:
Facebook force close when you tap a video album
Roaming charges when in Canada & Mexico
“Android updating” message on power up
Camera not launching
Hotspot turning off after 10 minutes
Exchange mail account removed after FOTA
Car dock limiting charging current
“Set Current Date” popping up frequently
BUA+ (multiple issues)
Flash player removed
OTA over incorrect APN
OTA SW update time
Camera dark when using Facelock
Text field difficult to read
With the official Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Rezound still nowhere in sight, these unofficial leaks are probably the best bet for Rezound owners to taste ICS. Head over to Android Police for the download link and the flashing instructions for the leak.
HTC has once again started rolling out a new software update for the international variant of the One X, that aims at improving the performance of the handset and fix some minor bugs. While HTC has not provided any official change-log for the update, one major change in the update is that HTC has enabled GPU Rendering by default on the handset.
For some strange reason, HTC had disabled GPU rendering by default on the One X previous to the 1.29 software update. Considering GPU rendering is one of the biggest under-the-hood changes in Ice Cream Sandwich, HTC really had to be insane to disable it. The company only allowed GPU acceleration in certain applications including some from Google and a few benchmarking apps. Otherwise, only those apps that specifically enabled GPU rendering in their manifest.xml were harnessing the power of the GPU instead of the CPU. There was no way to force GPU acceleration on all applications, like it is on the Galaxy Nexus and other Ice Cream Sandwich running handsets.
Thankfully, HTC has fixed this issue in the 1.29 software update. Some One X owners also suggest that the update brings about a slight improvement in the battery life of the handset as well.
Late last week, we reported that owners of the newly released Sprint Galaxy Nexus were facing mobile data connectivity issues with the handset. While calls and SMS work just fine, the handset would just refuse to connect to Sprint’s 3G network. One Sprint representative confirmed the bug and stated that Sprint will try to release the update by early next week.
Thankfully, Sprint has managed to stick to its word and has started rolling out the FD02 software update for the Galaxy Nexus, which fixes the mobile data not connecting bug along with several other minor bugs. Below is the small change-log of the update -:
Device not connecting to data services after activation
Device not displaying correct network time after activation
Google Wallet Update
Sprint aims at completing the roll-out of the software update in the next 1-2 days. Owners of Sprint’s Galaxy Nexus need to make sure that they are connected to a Wi-Fi network so that their handset can download the update. Hopefully, this update will fix the mobile data issues of Sprint’s Galaxy Nexus owners. Oh! and if you are wondering about the Android 4.0.4 update for the Sprint’s GNexus, then the handset runs on it right out of the box.
Back in October last year, Google and Samsung announced that the Galaxy Nexus will be coming to the United States and will remain exclusive to Verizon’s network for the first few months. This new definitely got a lot of Verizon customers happy as the big Red will finally sell a Nexus device that runs on stock Android.
Sadly, ever since the phone was released and a few minor updates were released by Google, people realized that the Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus is just another Android handset in the carrier’s range of handsets that don’t get timely Android updates. The Android 4.0.3 update never showed up for the Galaxy Nexus, and now nearly a month after the Android 4.0.4 update was released for the GSM variant of the Galaxy Nexus and a couple of other devices, Verizon has started rolling out the update for the GNexus under its network.
Considering the random reboot issue and other bugs present in Android 4.0.2, Verizon and Google should have rolled out the update ASAP, but the carrier took its own sweet time. The Android 4.0.4 update brings with it quite a lot of under the hood changes and bugfixes, including a fix for the random reboot issue, performance and stability improvements, faster auto-rotation and more. The update also contains a new radio which should improve the 4G LTE network reception and the 4G to 3G hand-off on the Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus.
Verizon is first rolling out the update for Galaxy Nexus owners on the corporate plan, and will roll out the update to other GNexus owners sometime from this week’s end.