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Google Voice gets an ICS update, brings visual voicemail to the missed call log

To date, it seems that Mountain View has employed a loose definition of the term “integrated,” neglecting to offer such Google Voice features as a unified messaging inbox, or an option to access voicemails without switching back to the dedicated app. Well we have some good news for those of you that haven’t completely abandoned voice-based communication. The latest GV update adds a special topping to that Ice Cream Sandwich (sorry, Gingerbread men), letting you launch visual voicemails directly from your Android call log — and bringing Voice integration a step closer to actually being integrated. You’ll also have the power to slow down a message to jot down a callback number, or speed it up to get to the juicy stuff, like a callback number. Full details are at the source link below, or on your very own ICS handset after a quick trip to Play.

sourceGoogle Voice Blog

Splashtop THD lands on ICS Tegra 3 tabs, ready to stream full-screen Skyrim

Splashtop THD

Splashtop is one of the premier remote desktop apps out there and, at CES, we got a pretty sweet demo of it pushing full screen games and HD video from a Windows 7 PC to a Tegra 3 tablet. Now that version (THD) is available for download in the Android Market for $6.99. Of course, you’ll need a Tegra 3 slate running Ice Cream Sandwich to take advantage, while playing Skyrimin full screen has the added requirement of PC sporting a GeForce GPU. Once you’ve gotten those basic requirements out of the way you’ll still want to make sure you’ve got a solid and quick wireless connection — all the processing power in the world won’t be able to compensate for a lack of bandwidth. Check out the video after the break to see it in action and hit up the source link to buy it yourself.

sourceSplashtop THD (Android Market)

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Texas Instruments dual WiFi module lets your tablet connect to your TV and the web simultaneously (hands-on)

Texas Instruments is helping to lead the way when it comes to mobile computing — when we want an early look at what’s to come months and even years down the road, TI is always one of our first stops. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, the semiconductor leader wasn’t shy about showing off its latest innovations, including those from its manufacturing and design partners. Today’s demo focused on wireless video streaming — a concept that engineers are approaching from every imaginable angle, and that is bound to make its way to consumers in a very big way within the next few years. TI’s flavor is based on WiFi, and offers a dual-connection solution, letting you pair a tablet with a TV using peer-to-peer while also creating a second link between the tablet and a wireless router for Internet.

We took the tech for a spin using one of TI’s development platform tablets and an external WiFi dongle (shipping versions will be integrated), and everything worked as described, though the video stream was noticeably choppy and compressed. TI reps explained that they dialed down the bitrate in order to maintain a connection at the MWC expo hall, which, as you might imagine, probably had a wireless signal density greater than any other room in the world. The tablet we saw was running a very slick context-aware UI that displays one of three home screens based on your current location — there’s one for work (that displays your calendar), one for home (media and home automation controls) and another for travel (restaurant reviews and weather). Pushing content from the tablet to the TV seemed to be seamless, and while both the UI and wireless functionality may appear to be ready to make their way into your home, TI isn’t making any announcements about availability. There’s no need to wait for a teaser, however, which you’ll find just past the break.

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Google Voice update for Android brings design refresh and asynchronous SMS

Google Voice update for Android brings design refresh and asynchronous SMS

A new version of Google Voice has just crawled out of the woodwork, and while the changes are minor, we think most users will like what’s in store. First and foremost, we were greeted with a new, darker interface that better matches Honeycomb’s design philosophy, along with a refreshed icon that more closely resembles the messaging app in Ice Cream Sandwich. There’s also a curious new feature known as asynchronous SMS, which allows you to queue up messages for later delivery when you happen to be without signal. To test this out, we put our handset into airplane mode, fired off a few texts — which showed up as queued — and then took our phone back onto the network. Once back online, the messages were delivered as expected. And hey, it can’t get much better than that, really.

sourceAndroid Market

Chrome Beta for Android hands-on (video)

Chrome beta for android

So, Google is finally making the move we’ve been expecting for some time now and bringing Chrome to Android. Now, you’ll need a device running Ice Cream Sandwich to get the new mobile browser up and running but, thankfully, we happened to have a Galaxy Nexus on hand. As you might expect, mobile Chrome (much like its desktop sibling) is fast — a little buggy perhaps, but fast. It isn’t, however, the fastest browser for the platform. Chrome Beta holds its own, but the standard Android browser, the stable version of Firefox and Dolphin HD all edged it out in SunSpider. Numbers don’t tell the whole story though, so head on past the break for more.

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Texas Instruments demos first OMAP 5, Android 4.0-based reference design, promises it in laptops next year (video)

Texas Instruments promised us a new helping of OMAP right around a year ago, and sure enough, OMAP 5 processors will be sampling to partners as early as next week. Texas Instruments’ Remi El-Ouazzane (VP of OMAP) just debuted an OMAP 5-based reference design (or “development platform,” if you will) on our CES stage, a solid four years after OMAP 3 debuted on a nondescript Archos tablet. OMAP 5 brings along a pair of cores and plenty of power savings, a dual-GPU architecture and more raw horsepower than the average simpleton is used to handling in a single palm. We saw quite a bit of swiping through Android 4.0.1, and as you’d expect, everything looked decidedly snappy. 720p video at 30 frames per second is no real chore, with the platform capable of pushing 1080p material at 64 frames per second (130 frames per second without screen refresh limitations). Of course, with everything being hardware accelerated, we can’t feign surprise about its future on netbooks and laptops. To quote Remi:

Texas Instruments first-ever OMAP 5 reference design demo at CES 2012

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Acer Iconia Tab A510 hands-on (video)

The follow-up to last year’s Acer Iconia Tab A500 — aptly named the A510 — is hanging out in the NVIDIA booth at CES. The 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 display (the same one on the A500) comes with Android 4.0 on board, alongside a 5MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing cam. The tablet feels lighter than its predecessor (as it should, since it loses the USB 2.0 port), and we prefer the soft-touch plastic backing to aluminum finish on the last-gen model.

What’s most interesting about the A510, though, is not the fact that it has Ice Cream Sandwich pre-loaded, but that it has a custom UI, similar to what you’ll find on the Honeycomb-packing A200. Thankfully, Acer’s choice of skinning is low-key, and makes for an enjoyable, unobtrusive experience. First off, the UI is very ring-centric: tapping a virtual button in the middle of the task bar launches a ring with four customizable shortcuts, as well as a carousel on the right. Additionally, the lock screen offers a similar circular batch of four direct-access points, rather than the stock two. We appreciate that Acer isn’t looking to add a full fifteen pieces of flare to its proprietary user interface. To see some more of the Tab, we’ve got a gallery of photos below, along with a short walk-through video after the break.

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Lenovo K800 Intel Medfield smartphone hands-on (video)

Well it looks like we have a surprise guest at Showstoppers tonight. Lenovo just dropped by with its just-announced K800 — the first Intel-powered smartphone to see the light of day. The beastly 4.5-inch 720p device sample that the company had on-hand is running a highly modified version of Android, and while the interface may not look familiar, the overall app experience shouldn’t be much different from what you’re used to. The official spec list includes a 1.6GHz Intel Medfield processor, Android 2.3, a TFT display and an 8 megapixel camera with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 3200. For now, the K800 is compatible with WCDMA HSPA+ and was running on AT&T’s 3G network — there’s no word of LTE on this version, which seems logical considering that the 4G network is a bit hard to come by in Lenovo’s native China, where the device is expected to launch first. Naturally, there’s also 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS connectivity. We’ll be bringing you more on what’s undoubtedly the hottest gadget of the evening in the days to come, but jump past the break for an early look at the world’s first Medfield smartphone.

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Intel’s first Medfield smartphone is Lenovo’s K800, coming first to China Unicom in Q2 with Android 4.0

Intel’s been promising a smartphone of its own for about as long as men have been walking the ground of Earth, but it looks as if its May 2011 claims of “early next year” are finally getting close to being “accurate.” Here at the company’s CES 2012 keynote, the Medfield-based Lenovo K800 was revealed as the first Intel-powered smartphone (boasting Android 4.0, no less), with Lenovo’s home turf being pegged as getting first dibs. There’s a 4.5-inch 720p display and rear camera with dual-LED flash but outside of a tip that it’ll be shipping to China Unicom in Q2 of this year, everything else surrounding it remains a mystery.

First off, it’s downright amazing to hear Intel finally give us a date to mark down, but it remains to be seen how many phone manufacturers will drop their existing adoration for Qualcomm and NVIDIA in order to given Intel’s (historically power-sucking) mobile chips a go.

Lenovo LeTV (IdeaTV) hands-on: a 55-inch Ice Cream Sandwich HDTV (video)

Is it a Google TV? Well, yes and no. Lenovo’s just trotted out a spankin’ new 55-inch flat panel dubbed LeTV or IdeaTV at CES Unveiled, and while it’s got that special Mountain View magic within, it’s of the Ice Cream Sandwich variety. That’s right, the company’s powered this set up with Android 4.0, slapped on its own skin and is prepping it for a Chinese launch later this spring. One of the company’s reps treated us to a brief walkthrough of the next-gen TV, so hop on past the break to get a glimpse of the frozen delights loaded up inside.

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Lenovo LePad K2010 (IdeaTab K2) hands-on: Tegra 3, full HD IPS display

Remember our lovely leak of Lenovo’s Tegra 3 tablet from last November? Well, it showed up here at CES under the LePad K2010 moniker for China, while elsewhere it’ll likely be known as the IdeaTab K2. We won’t comment much on the unfinished software (so no luck with controlling the cursor using the fingerprint scanner on the back), but build quality wise we enjoyed the faux brushed metal cover on the back, and similarly, the sharp 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display between the speakers was very impressive (yes, we double-checked with Lenovo on these numbers).

We also received confirmation that the camera on the back has an eight-megapixel resolution, but obviously we’ll wait and see if the picture quality lives up to expectation. Alas, there’s still no word on availability, but regardless, China will get first dibs on this juicy quad-core slate. On the bright side, this should give ample time for potential buyers to save up — the K2010 is aimed at high-end business users, after all. Hands-on video after the break.

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Lenovo’s 55-inch IdeaTV K91 is the world’s first Android Ice Cream Sandwich TV

Back in late November last year, Lenovo’s Chinese folks teased a certain IdeaTV or LeTV for launch this year, and now we finally get to see it in its full glory. Dubbed the K91, we’re looking at a 55-inch IPS 3D HDTV running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (a first for smart TVs, yet not quite a Google TV), and inside it sits a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon APQ8060. Dig a little deeper and you’ll also find 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage, SD card expansion, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 10M/100M Ethernet, HDMI and USB 2.0 connectivity (which is much needed for an external hard drive to store video content). As you can see in the pictures, the K91 will come with some Lenovo cloud services, including an app store (but the TV will have over 100 apps preloaded, anyway) and video-on-demand, along with voice control and facial recognition (mainly for child lock, we presume) using its five-megapixel webcam. As always, we’ll get back to you as soon as we get information on dates and prices.

Acer Iconia Tab A200 arriving January 15 for $330, Ice Cream Sandwich coming mid-February

After slipping not-so-quietly through the FCC, we knew it was only a matter of time before Acer’s Iconia Tab A200 arrived here in the US of A. Well, we just got word it’ll go on sale January 15th starting at $330 — not too shabby for a 10-inch tablet on the brink of an Ice Cream Sandwich update. According to Acer, the tablet is shipping with Honeycomb (version 3.2, to be exact), but should be getting that ICS upgrade in mid-February, about a month after it goes on sale. To be clear, that $330 price gets you 8GB of storage; the 16GB version will set you back an extra twenty bucks. Either way, it has a microSD slot for expansion, NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2 SoC, a modest 2MP front-facing camera, a 1280 x 800 display and a battery rated for up to eight hours of runtime. If all that sounds rather ho-hum, remember that this is still one of the only tablets with a full-sized USB 2.0 port for moving files on and off the device.

Acer Iconia Tab A200

Samsung Galaxy S II gets new ICS ROM, offers Kies to the kingdom (video)

New year, new you ROMs. Yep, the Galaxy S II is getting even more attention, with a duo of Ice Cream Sandwich versions landing on that capacious 4.3-inch screen. They consist of an early Android 4.0.1 build made on December 20th and version 4.0.3 crafted just ten days later. The interesting part is that, according to YouMobile, both of these will arrive through Kies, Samsung’s Android connectivity software. The mobile news site also suspects that these are close (but still buggy) approximations of what we’ll see on our as-yet un-tinkered Galaxy S IIs in the very near future. These Kies-capable builds also have a few cosmetic differences to the build leaked earlier, like a distinct lack of Tron hues adorning the notification bar at the top. While we await a release through the official channels, you can check out a swift run-through right after the break.

sourceSam Mobile

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Facebook for Android update going live today, promises UI tweaks and faster photos (update: live!)

We already knew a much-needed update to Facebook’s Android app was close at hand, but we finally have the confirmation from the horse’s mouth that the upcoming refresh will go live at some point today. The new version of the app will offer photos and albums at double the speed, a new menu on the left-hand side, and the ability for messages to “float” above the rest of the screen rather than exiting the page you’re currently viewing. And while the social networking app technically works on devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, plenty of concerns have arisen regarding its lack of integration with the new OS; fortunately, it shows the update as it would look on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus — we’re crossing our fingers that this is some type of hint that we’ll see contact syncing for Android 4.0 included as part of the download, but it’s all wishful thinking. We’ll keep you posted if it actually happens.Update: As of 9:30PM ET or so the updated version is live on the Android Market. The description is still lagging as of this writing, but feel free to snatch the new version on the mobile device of your choice and let us know how it’s working. Unfortunately contact sync in ICS is still a no-go, but at least the settings are actually accessible now. If you’re having trouble (blank screen when launching the app, etc.) we’re hearing clearing the cache may resolve any issues.

sourceFacebook, Android Market

Samsung draws in developers with S-pen SDK for Galaxy Note

Ever since the mighty Galaxy Note first popped up at IFA we’ve been curious about that S-pen and how it’ll make its way into our real-life workflow. Samsung promisedthere’d be an SDK back at its October London launch and it’s finally here, letting developers get busy adding some S-pen magic to their apps. Version 1.0 lets you add a basic canvas, a pop-up for pen settings (opacity, line color and so on) as well as erase and un/redo. Sure, ICS might natively support stylus input, but as Samsung is keen to point out — with its capacitive tip and configurable button — a simple stylus this is not. And remember: until the Note gets an ICS update, you’ll be scribbling all over that snappy Gingerbread install anyway. Tap that source link if you want to get your hands on the goods, and let the tic-tac-toe commence.

sourceSamsung Mobile

Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ review

Each year, several dozen smartphones land on our collective desks. They come in different shapes and sizes, boast different features and sell at different price points. We take each of them for a spin and review most of them, but only a handful really stand out. This is especially true with Android handsets, where incremental updates appear to be the modus operandi. Every now and then a device comes along that we really look forward to getting our hands on. Google’s line of Nexus smartphones falls into this category, setting the new standard for Android each year.

In early 2010, the Nexus One became the yardstick for all future Android handsets and, later that year, the launch vehicle for FroYo. A year ago, the Nexus S introduced us to Gingerbread on the popular Galaxy S platform. Now, a few weeks after being unveiled with much fanfare, we’re finally able to sink our teeth into Ice Cream Sandwich with the Galaxy Nexus, arguably the latest addition to Samsung’s critically acclaimed Galaxy S II family. So, does this highly anticipated device live up to our expectations? Is the Galaxy Nexus the smartphone to beat? Most importantly, is Ice Cream Sandwich ready to take Android to the next level? In a word, yes. Read on for our full review.

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ASUS Transformer Prime goes up for pre-order in North America, banks on your lust for Tegra 3

It’s only been a few weeks since ASUS went official with it’s Tegra 3-packing Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet. We knew the keyboard-dockable hybrid would available sometime this December, but now the Android 3.2 Honeycomb-running slate (later upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich) has just popped up for pre-order at various North American retailers. If you’ll recall, inside of its Zenbook-esque shell you’ll find a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front facer — not to mention other goodies like a micro HDMI port and a SD card reader. Folks in the US can place their funds down for the 1.3-pound 10.1-incher with Amazon, B&H Photo, Tiger Direct and Best Buy, while those up in Canada can currently look to Future Shop for the privilege. Arriving in your choice amethyst gray or champagne gold with 32 or 64GB of storage, you’ll find it priced at $500 and $600, respectively. So, if you want to ensure you’re the first kid on the block with a quad-core slate, find your credit card, get Eee-xcited and hit the source link below.


ASUS Transformer Prime gets a stomach full of Ice Cream Sandwich (video)

Sure, the Transformer Prime has been official for a couple of weeks now, but we haven’t seen the 10-inch tablet get much action, aside from a few quick hands-ons. ASUS is finally ready to show us the quad-core Tegra 3 tablet — running Ice Cream Sandwich, no less. The tablet won’t actually ship with the brain-freezing mobile OS, but the company has promised a sweet, sweet upgrade. Check out the video, including 1080p video playback and some time with the quad-core-friendly Riptide GP after the break.

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Galaxy Nexus coming to Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada December 8th, pre-orders begin today

Time to start whoopin’ and hollerin’, Canada — not only do you have a date with the Galaxy Nexus on December 8th, you can begin pre-ordering it on Bell and Virgin Mobile today. Getting your phone ordered early ensures that you can have the $160 handset (after a three-year commitment, of course) shipped out “as soon as it’s available,” but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee your brand new treasure will show up on launch day. Bell’s got a promo going on that we don’t recall having seen before: a Twitter line-up. The idea is to sign up on the site on December 1st between 10am and 11am (EST), claim a spot in the virtual line and you’ll be given a message to send on Twitter. Then, return to the site once an hour until 10pm and tweet out the latest message. If you remain in the top 100 when all is said and done, your Galaxy Nexus will be guaranteed to arrive on the 8th. ‘Course, given the amount of interest circulating around the phone, it’s probably best if you’re on the site ready to get your Tweet at 9:59am. Check out the press release for the deets.

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