The much anticipated EVO 4G was released today, and it looks like it's already gotten its first OTA update. The update appears to clean up a few problems in the shipping ROM. Perhaps the biggest fix on board here is a modification that clears up a user file permission error that prevented some users from writing to the MicroSD card.
Also in the ROM update are a number of small security tweaks. The reported effect of which is that the recently worked out root method has been broken. There will most likely be more, and if the guys behind the root are to be believed, there are plenty more vulnerabilities in the ROM. It's nice to see such quick action to solve the SD card issue. It usually takes weeks for OTA patches to be put together for Sense phones. HTC Hero users on Sprint waited weeks for an update to fix text messaging related battery drain issues.
Did you rush out and get an EVO today? What's the verdict?
You may remember a few months back when Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. The case centered mostly around HTC's Android phones. Long story short, it looked a little grim for the relatively young HTC, though it will still likely take years for the case to run its course. But now HTC is coming out swinging, and has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Apple for infringing five of their patents. HTC has asked the ITC to ban imports of the iPhone, iPad , and iPod Touch. This is a common request in these cases.
According to GIzmodo (though not yet confirmed), two of the patents are related to power management, two are for personalized phone dialers, and one is for a dialer with special memory access. Apple threw everything they had at HTC, and by comparison this is small potatoes. It could be HTC is attempting to extract a cross-licensing deal from Apple, or just get them to call it a day. No corresponding federal lawsuit has been filed as of yet, but that could be coming too. We'll keep an eye on this one folks.
It was just a few months ago that Sprint got in on the Android action by claiming they too would be selling Google's superphone, the Nexus One. Now in the wake of Verizon's decision not to support the handset, Sprint too is nixing plans to allow it on their network. And just like that, the dream of a CDMA Nexus One was dead.
Sprint said when asked about the cancellation, they would be focusing on the upcoming HTC EVO 4G instead. Much as Big Red decided to avoid self-competition and focus on the HTC Incredible. The EVO 4G is looking like a nice handset though. It will pack a 4.3-inch LCD touch screen, 8MP camera, WiMAX data, and HTC's Sense UI with Android 2.1. This is currently the newest build of Android, but Google may push out an update for stock Android that makes the EVO seem out of date.
CDMA carriers have more control over the phones that run on their network than GMS carriers do. Traditionally, CDMA phones have to be registered via an IMEI number, so it's no problem to simply refuse to support a phone. On GSM networks an activated SIM card can work in almost any GSM phone.
While it is true that Sense UI phones like the EVO 4G have to wait longer for OS updates, there aren't a lot of other reasons to hold off for Stock Android. Was anyone out there waiting on the Sprint Nexus?
Part of the fun of owning an Android-based smartphone is in installing third party firmware. Not for the faint of heart, the process involves hacking the device in a process known as rooting which, if done incorrectly, can brick your handset. Take your time and do things correctly, however, and you'll unlock all kinds of functionality and features not previously available, depending on your particular smartphone. G1 owners, for example, can install apps directly to an SD card and setup Wi-Fi tethering, among other things.
Should you make the leap, popular modder CyanogenMod has just released what he claims is the first fully functionally Android 2.1 (Eclair) ROM for the HTC Dream (G1) and Magic smartphones. The latest ROM includes everything that goes with Eclair, as well as a few extras, including:
FLAC audio support
360 Degree auto-orientation
If you're interested in giving the new ROM a spin, you can download the file from here. Be sure to follow the installation instructions closely.
There are a couple of questions surrounding Palm these days, such as will the company be sold, and if so, who's going to snatch it up? According to a recent Reuters report, Lenovo has replaced HTC as the front runner to scoop the struggling smartphone maker up.
Nokia, Motorola, and Research in Motion (RIM) have all also been mentioned as possible suitors, though if you talk to Palm CEO Jon Rubinsteign (and the Financial Times did), Palm can get by on its own.
"I believe Palm can survive as an independent company. We have a plan that gets us to profitability," Rubinstein said, adding that Palm is working "fast and furious on new handsets." Palm is also considering licensing its webOS to other manufacturers, Rubinstein said.
Naturally, Lenovo had no comment on any potential interest in acquiring Palm.
It wasn't totally unexpected, but it's still jarring to hear Bloomberg reporting that Palm is up for sale. The maker of the WebOS-packing Pre smartphone seemed resurgent just a year ago, but lackluster sales have resulted in poor stock performance and anxious invertors. Palm is said to be working with Goldman Sachs Group to shop around to perspective buyers. Among the possible suitors are Lenovo and HTC.
Just a few weeks ago Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein seemed defiant saying, " I am still confident that our talented team has what it takes to get the job done." But it seems the last few quarter have made their course clear. The speculation is that HTC would be particularly interested in Palm for their large patent portfolio, which could help fend off a suit from Apple. Of course, we wouldn't put it past Apple to buy up Palm to get those patents in Cupertino. Also, Steve Jobs would probably love to fire Rubinstein out of spite.
If nothing else, the acquisition talk has helped Palm's sagging stock price. It's risen over 32% in the past week on news of a sale. As for what this means for the future of WebOS, no one can say. It's possible a buyer could scrap the whole company. Any Pre or Pixi owners out there? If your updates stop flowing, will you move on or stick it out hoping for community support?
HTC can afford to live high on the hog this year after posting higher revenues than the company anticipated. For the first quarter of 2010, HTC reported $1.19 billion in revenue, a 19.33 percent increase from one year ago. In a best case scenario, HTC had hoped to report anywhere from $1 billion to $1.07 billion for the quarter.
New phone shipments played an integral role in driving up HTC's numbers, particularly Android-based smartphones to T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, market watchers noted. March was especially kind to HTC, in which revenues reached $515.57 million, a 60 percent sequential jump and 32.38 percent rise on year.
Market watchers expect HTC to perform even better in the second quarter, predicting revenues will reach as high as $1.37 billion.
Life is good for HTC, the handset maker riding the wave of Android in the smartphone market. So good, in fact, that the company is on pace to hit a new high in handset shipments this quarter.
According to a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times, HTC will likely ship 4.5 million units in the second quarter. That's a significant bump over the first quarter, which is expected to note 3.3-3.5 million units once all the numbers are tallied.
Much of HTC's success can be traced to Android-based devices, with several new models on tap, including the HTC Desire, HTC Legend, and HTC Incredible. Windows Mobile is also seeing some action from HTC, including the much-touted HTC HD2 and upcoming HTC HD Mini.
The launch of the Google Nexus One had its share of mishaps, with poor customer service, unexpected fees, and spotty 3G. As the weeks passed the superphone was selling, but not very fast. We recently heard that the Nexus One sold only 135,000 phones in the time it took the iPhone to reach 1 million. Many used this to declare the Nexus a flop. HTC CEO Peter Chou disagrees with that.
Chou points to the new ground broken by the Nexus One. It was sold by Google in a new way, bypassing the carriers. It was also the first to run Android 2.1. Chou believes the phone’s launch gives his company more clout, which is good considering the legal situation they find themselves in. When speaking about the numbers, Chou explained, "[Google's] goal with the Nexus One was to really show how good Android can be."
HTC believes that the recognition they got from the Nexus One can serve them well, even as they also move ahead with Windows Phone 7. Have you ever owned an HTC phone? How did you like it?
T-Mobile's 3G coverage map might leave quite a bit to be desired, but hey, it's not all bad news for T-Mobile subscribers. For the next six months, Aircell is offering free Gogo Inflight Internet service to owners of T-Mobile USA's new HTC HD2 smartphone.
"Aircell is constantly striving to partner with companies that can enrich the inflight experience," said Aircell President and CEO Michael Smith. "With the newest smartphone from T-Mobile, we can provide our customers with a simple, yet powerful way to stay connected, even at 35,000 feet."
To access the service, HTC HD2 users need only select the Gogo Inflight Internet bookmark under the "Favorites" menu and register to kick off the free service period. The offer is valid for up to six months or until June 30, 2011, whichever comes first.
According to Aircell, 30 percent of visitors access the Gogo Inflight Portal from Wi-Fi enabled smartphones. Gogo is now available on more than 760 commercial aircraft and more than 2,600 daily flights in the U.S., with pricing starting at $4.95 per session.