2011 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but the HTC Thunderbolt gets two of the top spots, as does the Motorola Xoom.
The HTC Titan is a beast of a smartphone, and we're here to tell you all about it, and give one away to one of our lucky readers or viewers. This is one of the first Windows Phone 7.5 Mango devices, and it's got a 480x800 4.7-inch display with a 1.5 GHz processor on the inside, along with 16 GB storage and 512 MB RAM. You also get an 8 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and BSI sensor that records in 720p HD, and a 1.3 megapixel front camera as well. We give you even more details in this episode, which you can watch above.
Don't forget, you can win one of these from us! Just head on over to our HTC Titan giveaway page to enter.
Big thank you to MozyPro and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! MozyPro provides simple, automatic, and secure data backup. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like on the site.
Yes - we're giving away an HTC Titan smartphone, running Windows Phone 7 Mango! We know that Christmas has come and gone, and we hope our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide served you all well, but we're not done with the gift-giving just yet. The HTC Titan we're giving away runs on the AT&T network, and is one of the first Mango devices that are available, and sports a 1.5 GHz processor and has 16 GB of storage built-in.
So, how do you enter to win the HTC Titan? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Sen. Al Franken this week said he is still "very troubled" by the technology deployed by Carrier IQ despite the fact that the company—as well as AT&T, Sprint, Samsung, and HTC—released details about how they use Carrier IQ software.
"People have a fundamental right to control their private information," Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said in a statement. "After reading the companies' responses, I'm still concerned that this right is not being respected."
Of particular concern was the fact that Carrier IQ was receiving the contents of users' text messages after say it did not, as well as the software's ability to collect online search data.
"There are still many questions to be answered here and things that need to be fixed," Franken said.
"We appreciate Subcommittee Chairman Franken's continued interest in protecting consumer privacy and look forward to our ongoing dialogue with the Senator to answer his additional questions," Carrier IQ said in a statement.
At the Google I/O conference in May, many Android phone vendors and U.S. wireless carriers made a long-awaited promise: From then on, any new Android phone would receive timely OS updates for at least 18 months following launch, as part of the then newly christened Google Update Alliance.
The back story: If you own an Android phone, you may have watched with frustration as a new version of the OS hit the market. It's almost never clear if your phone will ever get that upgrade—unlike with iOS or Windows Phones, which always get all upgrades (providing they meet the right hardware requirements). With Android, it seems to depend on the phone vendor, the specific model, the wireless carrier, the Android version itself, and whether Google sent the carrier an inflatable plastic food product as a token of its appreciation that week. Worse—and much to our chagrin—sometimes vendors make promises to customers before the sale that they don't keep once you own the phone.
Many factors contribute to this. But custom versions of Android are the key culprit, either thanks to vendor-specific enhancements (like HTC Sense, Motorola MotoBlur, and Samsung's TouchWiz, though LG, Pantech, Casio, and other vendors do it too), or carrier-specific enhancements of a more dubious nature (such as unnecessary preloaded bloatware and changes to default apps). These changes require many programming hours not just to make in the first place, but to also support and upgrade down the road—resources the carrier would rather throw at making new phones to sell you.
So the Google Update Alliance was a breath of fresh air. It sounded like everyone would finally come together, streamline their OS update timelines, and stop jerking around their customers. The thing is, while the Google Update Alliance ended up being one of the biggest stories to come out of Google I/O, we've heard almost nothing about it since then. You can bet we weren't just going to forget about it and pretend it never happened—especially after the release of Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), which is a huge leap in UI design and overall performance.
On Monday, T-Mobile quietly rolled out a software update for its HTC Amaze 4G that, most notably, introduced the ability to make Wi-Fi calls. An official update today also added that feature and more to the carrier's Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone.
Wi-Fi calling sets T-Mobile apart from other carriers, but until now, it was only available on select phones. In fact, it was one of the five best features we discussed when an AT&T/T-Mobile merger seemed imminent. Given T-Mobile’s admittedly limited cellular network, the Wi-Fi calling option makes for a great fall back when signal is hard to come by. T-Mobile customers using phones like the myTouch 4G have already been enjoying this feature, and T-Mobile seems determined to bring it to as many phones as it can.
The added capability comes in the form of a device upgrade to Android 2.3.5, which T-Mobile claims will also improve the performance of the Samsung Galaxy S II. The update addresses a number of issues, including a "Force close" problem that dropped calls when split in a conference call. Also rolled into the update are improvements to Caller ID and battery notifications. T-Mobile notes that customers must have a GBA SIM card to access the added Wi-Fi calling capability, but most phones should already be equipped with the right card.
Our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide tries to hit you with gift recommendations at all different price points, and this one may be the least expensive. Radio Shack is selling a bunch of 4G Android smartphones for free, with two-year contract, this holiday season. You can get devices like the Samsung Stratosphere for Verizon, Samsung Infuse 4G for AT&T, and the HTC EVO Design 4G for Sprint. All of these devices support faster data speeds, and at a price of free, they're a tremendous deal.
HTC has been dealt another blow in its ongoing patent battle with Apple. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled Monday that Apple's products don't infringe on patents held by S3 Graphics, a company in the process of being acquired by Taiwan-based HTC, ending the commission's investigation into the matter.
Last month, an ITC judge issued an initial judgment that Apple did not violate four HTC patents related to functions like power management and phone dialing. The Monday ruling concerned S3 patents for texture compression which relate to applications for things like 3D gaming.
HTC is in the process of closing a $300 million deal for S3 Graphics.
An HTC legal representative told The Wall Street Journal that the company was "disappointed" with the ITC ruling but would weigh its options, including an appeal of the decision.
The Staples Black Friday 2011 sale begins at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, and they've got a few items that have our attention. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $199 BlackBerry PlayBook, Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones with a $20 gift card at purchase, buy 1 get 1 free paper, and more.
RadioShack's Black Friday 2011 sale looks enticing, and we rarely say that kind of stuff about The Shack. Doors open at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, but you can get the Black Friday prices a day early by shopping on radioshack.com. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $300 15-inch Toshiba laptop, a $99 7-inch Velocity Micro Cruz tablet, 20% off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones, and more.