Did you chose one of the Motorola devices? Sorry, you’re wrong. The only tablet running ICS in my house is the HP Touchpad, courtesy of the CyanogenMod team. How embarrassing is that, Motorola? Here’s all the talk about preventing Android fragmantation and a Google subsidiary can’t even get Ice Cream Sandwich onto its own tablets in a timely fashion. It’s been over six months since ICS was released.
ICS has been available on the Xoom in the USA since January but as yet it’s not made it to the UK. ICS should have been released in Q2 of 2012 according to Motorola’s own documentation but a week into July and still no sign. And before anyone starts apologising that it’s to do with the carriers, these are all pure wifi devices. Does it really take six months for language customisation?
As for the Xoom 2 (aka Xyboard), it’s frankly an embarrassment that the current product doesn’t have ICS running on it now, although it’s promised for Q3 in both US and UK. I’m delighted to hear that Google Motorola is going to deliver Jelly Bean for the Xoom in July, but why not for the newer devices? Flagship software on flagship device would seem to be the way to go.
Google Android fragmentation needs to be addressed and minimised. Latest Android versions need to be showcased. Motorola’s tablets are popular. Motorola Mobility is a Google subsidiary. Do I have to join the dots?
While the Sony Xperia ion might have been getting much of the attention at CES, the Xperia S was running a close second. A flagship Android phone, it’s the full HD experience with a 4.3″ 1280 x 720 pixel TFT screen, 12 megapixel 1080p video recording rear camera, 720p front-facing camera and HDMI TV out. PlayStation-certified, 3D support, DLNA certified, Sony Entertainment Network, 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 32 GB memory; this is the mutt’s nuts as they say.
At launch, the OS will be Android 2.3, but Sony has promised Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) for the Xperia S in the second quarter of 2012. Most excellent.
For the fashionistas out there, the Xperia S will come in two versions, a black one and a white one. (I hesitate to say “colours”, as all the pedants will weigh in with their view as to whether black and white are colours). Anyway, defectors from Apple will feel right at home.
In the UK, Phones 4u has managed to snaffle the exclusive rights to the white model, which will be available along with the black one from March onwards. Pricing and exact launch date will be confirmed nearer the time. In the meantime you can see a hands-on review of the new Xperia S and pre-register your interest in Sony’s new flagship device.
Scott Hooton, Trading Director at Phones 4u said: “The Xperia S takes the mobile HD experience to a whole new level and packages it all up in a slick new innovative design for Sony. Being the only retailer to offer both the white and black variants, along with free 4u Wi-Fi, we’re expecting the Xperia S to be a popular smartphone of choice at Phones 4u as we enter the New Year.”
With luck, Geek News Central will be able to provide you with a hands-on review close to the launch.
A couple of days I wrote about E Fun, who are unveiling their Nextbook Elite 10 this week at CES 2012. The Elite 10 will be among the first tablets to run Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The tablet will be available this Spring at an MSRP of $249.99. At the time this was announced there were no pictures available, but that just changed. An email from a PR representative for E Fun just popped into my inbox with an attached first picture of the new E Fun Nextbook Elite 10. The picture is posted below. You can click to enlarge it. You can visit the manufacturer’s website at NextBookUSA.
Another manufacturer has thrown their hat into the Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 ring. E Fun, one of the better budget makers of tablets has announced that they will be unveiling their latest offering next week at CES 2012. The new hardware is called the Elite 10 and it’s a 9.7 inch tablet that will be among the first to run Google’s next-generation version of the Android operating system.
The Elite 10 will feature 1024 x 768 resolution, a Broadcom A9 dual-core 1.1 processor, Bluetooth, and HDMI. It also will have dual cameras – a 2.0 MP front-facing one, as well as a 5.0 MP rear camera, and also high definition video.
“E FUN is pleased to announce its latest Nextbook tablet with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich – the Elite 10, to be debuted at CES on January 10.”
As of now E Fun is not releasing any pictures of the new tablet, as they want to officially have it seen at CES, but we’re working with a company rep in hopes of being one of the first places you will be able to see those images. I recently was told that the company is, “Truly sorry that we are still waiting on the production image, it’s really new and will be showed at CES for the first time.” She has promised me that, “I will definitely get the image out to you as soon as it’s ready!”
Stay tuned for some shots of this new Android device that will be coming soon. The tablet itself will be available in the Spring at an MSRP of $249.99. Below is the current Android 2.3 model from E Fun (the Premium 9), which is probably an adequate hardware representation of what is coming. You can visit them by heading over to NextBookUSA.
If you wanted a $99 tablet, you would wait for the HP fire sales of the TouchPad, or buy a no-name brand tablet that had a low end processor and no memory. But MIPS Technologies has announced their entry into the market – a $99 tablet that can run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
You might have MIPS technology in your home already. The MIPS processor is what powers TVs, DTV boxes, and other appliances from Sony, Pioneer, Motorola, and Cisco (Linksys).
Now, it’s ready to enter in the mobile market with the new tablet. The first one, a 7″ tablet created by Ainovo; the NOVO7 runs using a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) at 444MHz. The processor is a 1GHz single core, but using a technology called XBurst. Called JZ4770, it’s MIPS32, 65 nanometer architecture. The processor notes it can show 2D or 3D video in 1080p, with a low power consumption (less than 250mW).
Unfortunately, the unit is also sold out at this time.
“The openness of Android is enabling a new level of connectedness and interaction between devices and between people across the globe,” said Sandeep Vij, president and CEO, MIPS Technologies. “We are excited to be a part of the Android ecosystem delivering on that vision. We applaud Ingenic’s accomplishment in developing this new high-performance, feature-rich Android 4.0 tablet, and offering it at a price point that makes it widely accessible. We look forward to teaming with Ingenic as it continues to develop MIPS-Based mobile innovations.”
Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at Google joined in on the praise:
“I’m thrilled to see the entrance of MIPS-Based Android 4.0 tablets into the market. Low cost, high performance tablets are a big win for mobile consumers and a strong illustration of how Android’s openness drives innovation and competition for the benefit of consumers around the world.”
8″ and 9″ form factors will be available soon. All versions include support for WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, HDMI 1.3 and microSD, as well as 3D graphics (1080p video decoding) and dual front/rear cameras (the NOVO7 has a 2MP rear, VGA face camera system).
The age of the “throw-away” tablet could be coming sooner than you think.
If you have been eying the new Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for Android, but aren’t sure if/when it will come to your device then this may serve as at least a bit of good news. One part of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the keyboard, is now available for Android 2.2 and greater devices via a port that’s available in the Android Market.
The new keyboard features a slightly different color scheme, with the keyboard being a darker shade of grey and the predictive text appearing in blue, instead of the previous green. You can also now click the underlined (with three dots) predictive word to get a list of more options. The keyboard settings also contain some additional options.
If you haven’t previously installed a custom keyboard on your Android then there are a couple of tricks you need to understand. The keyboard doesn’t automatically become your default and it doesn’t appear in your installed apps. To enable it, you will need to go to your device settings and click “Language and Keyboard”. Click to enable the “Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard”, and then go to “Input Method” and choose the “Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard”.
Considering the relative success ASUS has already seen in the tablet space it’s no surprise they want to keep them coming. The EeePad Transformer, according to them, is selling pretty well and they recently revealed another impressive Android tablet… err phone… no, tablet phone… Oh yea, it’s the Padfone.
What if we could take our tiny smartphone screen and blow it up to 10.1-inches whenever we wanted? We’d never have to squint again and when our phone rings we could just squish it back down to handheld size and answer the call. See where ASUS is going with this?
Rather than going out and spending money on a smartphone and a tablet, ASUS is going to combine the two… sorta. The smartphone will be just like any other Android handset we’ve seen before. What separates the Padfone from the competition isn’t the handheld itself, but the dock. In essence, the “Pad” aspect of the Padfone is just a 10.1-inch touch screen USB monitor with a battery shoved in it.
The phone provides all the computing power and a 3G connection for access to the web. Toss it in the back of the Padfone tablet-dock and your ready to go. The phone connects to a mini-HDMI and mini-USB at the same time, then you close the lid, completely hiding the handset it from view.
Details were absent regarding which version of Android will be running on the Padfone, but speculation is already swirling the web with “Ice Cream Sandwich” in the eye of the storm. It is definitely a possibility — ASUS says the Padfone’s interface will automatically adjust to better suit the larger screen size when it is docked and Google has already told us Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) would not be coming to smartphones. If you check out the promo video on the Padfone site you’ll see the same navigation bar we were introduced to in Honeycomb. But, if Honeycomb isn’t coming to smartphones (where the “brains” of this device will be located) than we can only move forward, right?
No pricing or availability was announced so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the coming months. As far as Ice Cream Sandwich goes, Google’s Eric Schmidt will be talking at the D9 Conference later today — fingers crossed we’ll learn something there.