We open up the Motorola Droid X2 in this episode of Unboxing Live, giving you a look a the first dual-core Android device available on Verizon Wireless. This is the follow-up to the original Droid X, and maintains the same form factor and physical buttons, as well as the huge display. This one is actually a qHD display, providing a higher resolution than the original Droid X that launched almost a year ago. One thing missing here, the Droid X2 doesn't have 4G LTE built-in, but that's a minor complaint for this otherwise speedy device.
As always, hit us with any questions you have about the Droid X2 and we'll do our best to answer them in our follow-up review! In the meantime, feel free to check out our Motorola Droid X2 gallery.
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This morning Google finally announced their NFC payment system, Google Wallet. We knew this was coming as soon as it was m ade known that the Nexus S would be packing in an NFC chip. Google put together the video above that shows how they plan on changing the game as it relates to payments. Our take? It's a step forward, but until we start seeing more Android devices shipping with NFC chips, this won't mean much. What it does do, though, is it encourages handset makers to start including NFC, as this is a huge incentive.
The FCC has opened public comment on the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and now is the time to make your views known.
I have no idea whether any amount of public outrage will stop this merger, but we might as well try. Checking this morning, I saw that there are already almost 3,000 comments submitted, overwhelmingly opposing the merger.
AT&T set out its justifications for the merger in a 388-page filing with the FCC.
I'm sure that AT&T will soon rally some sort of Astroturf organization to write comments in support of the deal. It's interesting, really: the comments I could find in support of the merger come from groups and trade associations, while the comments against the merger generally come from individual Americans. It's clearly easier to get a lobbying organization in AT&T's corner than it is to get real people in support of this deal.
It hasn't been that long since Kevin Rose left Digg, but early details of his new startup are already coming to light.
The company, a development lab focused on solving problems using the mobile Web, is called Milk. Located in San Francisco's Mission District, it has been described as an incubator, but TechCrunch notes that the philosophy behind it is much different than the approach taken by most other Silicon Valley startups.
Incubators are generally thought of as companies that take a lot of entrepreneurial ideas, fund them and help them get off the ground. Rose says that rather than launch a bunch of smaller ideas, Milk will ideally help give life to between four and six bigger, more ambitious businesses. According to TechCrunch, the Digg co-founder expects most of the ideas to fail, but ideally he hopes to see one or two "become viable companies that have a big impact."
Google on Thursday expanded its Fragments API to applications running older versions of Android, meaning apps that are compatible with Android 1.6 or higher can tap into Fragments to create apps that work on larger-screened devices like tablets.
Though Android has been growing in popularity recently among handset and tablet makers, the main complaint about the OS has been its fragmented nature. At this point, about 57.6 percent of Android devices are running version 2.2, followed by 2.1 at 31.4 percent. About 6.3 percent are still on Android 1.6, according to the Android Developers site.
To address this, Google introduced the Android Fragments API in early February as part of Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
"Android 3.0 further helps applications adjust their interfaces with a new class called Fragment," Dianne Hackborn, a Google software engineer, wrote in a February 3 blog post. "A Fragment is a self-contained component with its own UI and lifecycle; it can be-reused in different parts of an application's user interface depending on the desired UI flow for a particular device or screen."
On Friday, Nokia and Microsoft held a press conference to announce a new partnership. It's well known that while Nokia is still the top handset maker worldwide, their main business is at the low and medium end. Their high-end smartphones have had a difficult road lately, especially in the US. Both Android and the iPhone are eating their lunch. After following a failing strategy with Symbian and MeeGo, now Nokia has decided to partner with Microsoft for their upcoming phones. In the announcement, they revealed that this is a broad strategic initiative to make Windows Phone 7 the main smartphone platform for Nokia. They also said a new leadership team would be leading this at the company. It's clear that both companies will benefit from this partnership, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to compete with the two current market leaders.
Fred Wilson, a known venture capitalist, put up a post this week arguing that magazine and newspaper apps are not a viable strategy for content publishers. It's no secret that the print industry has been in decline, with print companies shutting down. As information moves to the web, some of the core principles they could rely on before, exclusivity and scarcity, are no longer available to them as anyone can easily blog about everything in this link economy. The arrival of the iPad made many magazines and newspapers jump on board, because with apps, there's an illusion that these core principles exist again.
Whereas it soon became clear that most people were not willing to pay to have access to a web site, they thought that it would be easier to get these same people to pay to download an app which has basically the same content, with some 'pretty' layer on top of it. With recent figures showing that sales of those types of apps have been declining recently however, Wilson argues that this is only temporary. Instead, he sees the mobile space heading more towards the web model, where information want to be free, and with billions of devices accessing mostly free content.
Read More | AVC
A couple of days ago was the infamous Cyber Monday, where online stores see massive surges in sales, and eBay is one of the prime destinations people go to buy goods. Today they reported that their mobile sales for the Monday after Thanksgiving were up 146%. Also, eBay released a visualization tool that shows mobile shopping trends across 6 countries. The company reported that the use of its mobile platforms went up 3 times since 2009, with its iPhone app leading the way, followed by Android and Blackberry. In the US, cars and trucks were the biggest mobile trends, with cell phones, PDAs, women's clothing and other accessories leading the number of transactions done. It's clear that eBay is pushing its mobile apps, having recently released an updated version for the iPhone which includes a bar code reader, to bridge the in-store and online shopping experience.
Read More | eBay
It's no secret that Android phones are growing in popularity at an amazing rate, with new phones being introduced all the time. In North America, it's already the most popular smartphone platform, beating out iOS and Blackberry. However, in the rest of the world, it's a different story. Phones based on the Symbian system rule the market, but Symbian marketshare has been going down steadily. This week, the research firm GfK reports that in the third quarter, Android overtook Symbian for the first time in Asia.
According to the firm: "Our Q3 report shows that Android has recently overtaken Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in the context of Asia as a whole, in both value and unit sales. However, it is interesting to note the difference in OS trends when we look at findings in North and Southeast Asia separately."
Definitely nice to see that the mobile OS competition is heating up across the globe.
Read More | GfK
Skype update it's Android application today with version 1.0.1.
The first thing addressed is the support for screen resolutions common to more Android phones. Skype also announced that the hardware back key will now send the application to the background, while still allowing calls and IMs. Skype stated that this fix should also lesson battery consumption. Other fixes include:
- Signing out from Skype now exits Skype.
- Improved login stability and behavior.
- Improved performance with large contact lists.
- Reduced application size.
Problems having to do with the Galaxy S line of phones remain and Skype simply states that they "do not recommend installing Skype 1.0.1 for Android on this device with Android 2.1 and below."
Read More | Skype Blog
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