At today's Acer event, the company showed off a smartphone with impressive, though confusing specs. The unnamed Acer Android handset will be running on a 4.8-inch 1024x480 screen. Acer is billing it as a tablet-phone hybrid of some sort. The strange thing here is that the resolution of 1024x480 is not any wider than a standard WVGA handset. But the 1024 pixel dimension is much taller. Acer has reported this as a 21:9 aspect ratio display.
Other notable specs include Bluetooth 3.0, HSDPA data, a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, HDMI out, LED edge lighting for the screen, and WiFi N. The body is also expected to be fully metal. Sounds pretty good for the current market, but this beauty isn’t supposed to drop until April 2011. By then, it might not be winning the spec race. not to mention it could be pushed back. After all, this is just a render, and no actual product exists yet. Other than widescreen movies, can you think of a reason to have a display of this ratio?
According to DigiTimes, Taiwan-based notebook and component makers are all saying that Acer plans on unveiling a pair of tablets tomorrow during a press conference in New York.
One of those will include a 10-inch Windows 7-based slate, while the other is likely a 7-inch Android 2.2 device. Even 24 hours before the scheduled press release, Acer is struggling with whether or not to launch an Android tablet that isn't built around Gingerbread (Android 2.3) or Honeycomb (Android 3.0), though the company is strongly considering it in order to compete with the Galaxy Tab and Folio 100.
Also joining the fray is Velocity Micro's 7-inch Cruz tablet, which as we reported earlier is now shipping. Throw into the mix Apple's iOS 4.2 update for the iPad and things are finally starting to look interesting in the tablet market.
A recent slip-up on the Verizon website revealed the HTC Merge for all to see. This rumored handset offers a few interesting features for customers of Big Red, and its release can't be too far away. The Merge is a QWERTY Slider with a spacious keyboard. The touchscreen is 3.8-inches; likely the same WVGA panel as on the MyTouch 4G. We are also expecting a 800MHz Snapdragon CPU identical to the one in the T-Mobile G2.
While all that sounds fine, some users will be put off by the apparent decision to replace Google search with Bing. This is not the first Android phone Verizon has changed in this way. It appears to be any Android device that does not carry the Droid branding that gets Binged. Verizon quickly pulled down the Merge images, but they are preserved on the internet for you to salivate over if you need a new QWERTY slider on Big Red.
Google has thus far neglected to create a mobile application for managing Google Docs. But Google today announced that the mobile Google Docs site will soon allow editing of documents from the mobile browser. When viewing a document online, there will be a link to load editing mode, where users will be able to change the document from within the browser. While an app might provide a better experience, this web-based editing would be more in line with Google's ways.
The new feature will be available on iOS devices running version 3 or later, and on Android phones running 2.2 Froyo. Google also made sure to note that Android users can use voice dictation to edit documents. The 2.2 requirement is a real bummer for users of phones that are still running Android 2.1 or earlier. The Docs editing mode will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so some phones might get an update in the meantime.
Android isn't just for the high-end smartphone buyer anymore. LG has proven as much with the rollout of their Optimus One line of phones. According to LG, over 1 million Optimus handsets have been sold in just over 1 month. These devices are available on a number of carriers in slightly tweaked versions. The Optimus T, Optimus S and LG Vortex are all part of this family. The Vortex isn't even officially out yet; it will be dropping on the nation's largest carrier, Verizon on the November 18.
All versions of the Optimus are running Android 2.2 Froyo, which is still the newest version available. Some carrier specific editions of the phone have UI changes and slight hardware tweaks. These aren't high-end phones; some carriers are offering them free with a 2-year contract. Despite the slower performance, consumers are snapping them up. Has Android finally come to the masses?
Talk about knee-jerk reactions. Samsung's Galaxy Tab is really the only viable Android tablet on the market, and though plenty more will follow, some are already calling the platform a failure. Really?
After spending some hands-on time with the Galaxy Tab and the Maylong M-150, ZDNet's Larry Dignan proclaimed that "Android tablets are a big FAIL" in all caps, a sentiment echoed by Dana Blankenhorn, also with ZDNet.
"I agree with Larry Dignan. Android tablets are a failure," Blankenhorn blogged. "This follows the growing awareness on the part of cognoscenti that Android phones are not open source at all, but carrier crapware. Android as a whole is being seen as a failure."
We don't agree, and neither do the numbers. And if we're discussing smartphones, let's not forget that Android jumped ahead of Apple's iOS in third quarter market share, partially the result of having so many different devices to choose from, whereas Apple offers variations on only one -- the iPhone.
In the tablet space, it's far too early to declare Android a failure. The Galaxy Tab has received mixed reviews so far and doesn't look like it's going to take down the iPad, but did anyone really expect as much from an Android 2.2 device? Despite all the hype surrounding tablets and the holiday shopping season now under way, many companies aren't even bothering releasing an Android 2.2 slate, instead choosing to wait for version 3.0, which is supposed to be much more tablet-y.
What's your take on all this? Do you agree that Android tablets are a failure, or is that just crazy talk at this early stage? Hit the jump and sound off!
According to a tweet from Mobile-Review, Motorola is working with Google on the release of Android 3.0 on a tablet device called the MOTOPAD. Mobile-Review is the home of mobile authority Eldar Murtazin, who tends to have a line on these sorts of things. The tablet would be a 7-inch unit, and would presumably be the only one with early access to the tablet optimized version of the operating system.
This wouldn't be the first time Google has turned to Motorola to launch a new version of the mobile operating system. About a year ago, Android 2.0 debuted on the Droid bringing a number of new features including CDMA support and higher screen resolution. We can't say for sure that this is real, or when it would show up if it was, but it's about time Google got in the tablet game officially.
Biostar over the weekend let us know about a new app -- Bio-Remote2 Utility -- designed to make your smartphone even smarter, provided you're entrenched with Android.
Offered up as a free download in the Android Market and through Biostar's website, the Bio-Remote2 software turns your smartphone into a remote control connected to you PC via Wi-Fi. With it you can overclock your Biostar system, launch a variety of applications, update your BIOS, and even use it as a trackpad with text-sending functionality.
So far only Android smartphone owners have access to the app, but Biostar promises to "fully support" the iPhone in the coming months.
We're willing to wager you never once wondered which smartphone would grill faster, an iPhone 4, HTC Surround (Windows Phone 7), or T-Mobile G2 (Android). But now that we've brought it up, aren't you the least bit curious?
If so, check out EZGrill's 2 minute YouTube video below and you'll have your answer. And if not, watch it anyway if only for the groovy jingle that plays throughout.
We now have a rumor about one of the "significant number of new tablets" Michael Dell promised earlier this month. According to StreakSmart.com, an anonymous tipster, who attended a private Dell presentation, passed on some nuggets about upcoming tablets from the erstwhile world no.1 PC vendor.
Apparently, Dell briefed attendees about an unreleased 5-inch tablet that currently likes to be addressed as “Opus One.” It is said to feature a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a high resolution display (1280 x 800). He believes the device could succeed the Streak tablet/phone hybrid, even though there was no announcement to this effect during the presentation. Finally, Dell could launch the Opus One in May 2011.