Samsung Nexus S
Ting, an MVNO that resells access to Sprint's network, recently announced that it will eventually support devices that run Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. According to Ting, it will offer the same WP8 handsets sold by Sprint, likely in the May/June timeframe. Sprint committed to bringing HTC and Samsung WP8 devices to market before summer. Ting will be able to sell those devices about four to six weeks later, according to a post on its blog. It also announced that it now supports the Sprint-branded Galaxy Nexus S. Ting runs a BYOD-style, low-cost service.
Google today began pushing Android 4.2.1 to the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and other Nexus-branded devices. The minor update fixes a bug that eliminated the month of December from the contact application. The update is being rolled out gradually over the air.
Google recently revealed that the Samsung Nexus S for T-Mobile and a number of other global operators will soon receive the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Users will be notified when their device is ready for the update. Google said the update is being rolled out over time. Android 4.1 adds Google Now, the Project Butter performance optimizations, and improved notifications.
Google today announced that it is now pushing the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update en masse to the HSPA+ variant of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Google said that Galaxy Nexus owners can expect their device to update within the next few days, and they will be alerted when the update is available. Google expects to deliver Jelly Bean to the Nexus S and Motorola Xoom later this month. Android 4.1 includes significantly improved user interface performance, Google Now, and a range of other tweaks.
Google today made Android 4.1 Jelly Bean available in its entirety to the Android Open Source Project. The move is meant to provide developers with a working image of the platform for use with devices other than Nexus-branded smartphones and tablets. Additionally, Google released proprietary binaries for the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, and those for the Nexus S and Xoom will follow soon. The name of the tagged release is android-4.1.1_r1, and the name of the development branch is jb-dev.
The latest version of Android offers a lot of performance upgrades and some new whiz-bang features. Phone Scoop takes it for a spin on the Galaxy Nexus. Read our hands-on impressions of the new notification tools, camera app, and more.
Google today announced version 4.1 of its Android OS for smartphones. Nicknamed "Jelly Bean", the new OS is designed to be faster overall, and revamps keys parts of the interface. The new pull-down notifications shade lets users interact with notifications without leaving the notifications area. Interactive widgets are now easier to place on home screens, automatically resizing to fit available space. Android's voice recognition features have been improved to work offline and deliver faster results when searching. Also in search, Google Now delivers search results that are location-specific and up-to-the-minute, including information such as transit schedules, flight status, sports scores, and your personal schedule. Google search results also have a new, more visual look. The camera and gallery apps have also been revamped to make it easier to browse photos you've taken. Android Beam has been updated to make it easier to share photos and pair devices by tapping two NFC-enabled devices together. The new Google Play app store can now update apps by only downloading changed code - instead of the whole app - saving time and bandwidth. Android 4.1 will be available in mid-July for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom.
Google Wallet has become visible to AT&T variants of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S. The application was previously only available to the Sprint version of the Nexus S (though unofficial workarounds for other handsets were possible). The appearance of the application means that Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S owners will be able to download, install, and use the NFC-based Google Wallet mobile payment system to make purchases at select retailers in select cities around the U.S. Google Wallet is still officially unavailable to the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus.
All of the Long Term Evolution 4G devices released by Sprint this year will use only its 1900MHz spectrum, said Sprint spokesperson David Owen in an interview with Phone Scoop. Right now, Sprint doesn't have access to Clearwire's spectrum nor LightSquared's spectrum for LTE services, so it will repurpose its 1900MHz spectrum assets to handle both its current CDMA voice/data network and future LTE data network. Sprint plans to launch the LTE network, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and LG Viper at approximately the same time, but couldn't commit to a specific date. Sprint believes its LTE roll-out will be complete by the end of 2013, though Owen wouldn't say how Clearwire and LightSquared's spectrum and LTE networks will play a role in that final 4G picture. Clearwire will not, however, expand its WiMax network beyond what it already covers and will eventually transition to LTE. Owen said that Sprint's goal is to offer smartphones and mobile hotspots that provide good battery life and fast internet speeds, no matter what network technology is being used. The new tri-network (CDMA, WiMAX, LTE) mobile hotspot offers that for data-hungry customers. Owen said that tri-network phones are cost prohibitive, so it will offer CDMA/WiMax and CDMA/LTE devices at the same time as it completes its transition from WiMax to LTE 4G networking technologies.
Google today indicated that it has paused the distribution of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the Samsung Nexus S. In a statement, Google spokesperson Paul Wilcox said, "If you received an update notification a little while ago but the update isn't currently available for your phone, this is likely the result of Google pausing the update in your area while we monitor feedback. The Android 4.0 update is continuing to roll out around the world so your phone will receive another update notification when it's available again in your region." The company didn't explain itself further. It announced last week that the Nexus S would receive Android 4.0 starting over the weekend. The update applies to the GSM Nexus S, and not the CDMA variant sold by Sprint.
Google announced via one of its official Google+ accounts that it will begin distributing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the Samsung Nexus S starting today. The update will be rolled out to GSM units first, and will be distributed over the air gradually over the course of the next month. There's no word on when Android 4.0 will be made available to the Sprint CDMA version of the Nexus S. Google also posted a set of tips and tricks that Android 2.3 users can take advantage of to get used to the new operating system.
Google today announced that its Google Wallet mobile payment service has added a new partner in NJ Transit. NJ Transit operates trains and buses that travel between New Jersey and New York City and are responsible for carrying hundreds of thousands of commuters daily. According to Google, Google Wallet users will be able to use their phones to make payments at vending machines in New York's Penn Station, at the rail station at Newark Liberty International Airport, and on bus numbers 6, 43, 80, 81, 87, 120, and 126. Earlier this week, Google Wallet expanded the number of retailers that accept its NFC-based mobile payments on the Samsung Nexus S via Sprint's network to include American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, OfficeMax and Toys'R'Us.
Swype has made version 3.25 beta of its Android keyboard software available to all Android users. The beta was previously only available for the Nexus S on Sprint. The new beta includes a custom skin, tap correction, horizontal word choice list, personal dictionary management, and shortcut gestures to perform actions such as select all, or launch Google Maps or Twitter.
Swype and Sprint today announced that owners of the Samsung Nexus S will be the first to have access to a new version of Swype's Android keyboard starting today. In addition to a newly revised version of the Swype keyboard, the update includes a custom skin, tap correction, horizontal word choice list, personal dictionary management, and shortcut gestures to perform actions such as select all, or launch Google Maps or Twitter. This version of Swype is only for the Sprint Nexus S, though Swype will offer a beta version to other Android handsets soon.
Samsung today announced that Best Buy will offer a version of the Nexus S that is compatible with AT&T's network on July 24, with a pre-sale starting today. The Nexus S runs stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel camera with video capture, 3D gaming support, and support for NFC (near-field communications) for tap-and-go mobile payments. The Nexus S costs $99.99 at Best Buy stores with a new agreement. It does not appear that AT&T itself will sell the Nexus S, giving Best Buy an exclusive. The FCC first approved the AT&T-compatible version of the Nexus S in February.
Hulu today announced that its Hulu Plus service is available to the Android platform for the first time with a new application. Hulu Plus for Android allows subscribers to browse through and stream the video content they want directly from their Android handset. The application works with just six handsets at launch (Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid 2, Motorola Droid X, and the Motorola Atrix), though Hulu said it will add compatibility with more handsets throughout the year. The application is free to download, but Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month.
The GSM version of the Samsung Nexus S may receive access to the just-announced Google Wallet service, but Google will work with T-Mobile to bring the service to market for that phone, according to Google VP of Payments Osama Bedier. Mr. Bedier ruled out circumventing carriers like T-Mobile in bringing Google Wallet - and compatible phones - to market. The GSM Nexus S has the same NFC chip required for Google Wallet as the Nexus S 4G that the service is being trialled with today. Google expressed optimism that more carriers would support Google Wallet soon, and that many more phones would include the necessary NFC chip going forward.
Netflix today released its streaming video app for select Android phones via the Android Market. The app is only available for a handful of phones that meet strict hardware requirements, including the HTC Incredible, Nexus One, EVO 4G, G2, and Samsung Nexus S. The app supports resuming watching content where you left off watching on your TV or computer. Netflix already offers mobile apps for Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone devices.
Google and Samsung today officially announced the Nexus S. The Nexus S will become the next officially-sanctioned developer platform for Android coders. It is based on Samsung's Galaxy S line of Android devices, and is the first to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The Nexus S has a four-inch Super AMOLED "Contour Display" that Samsung says has a more ergonomic feel in the hand. Other features include a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor; 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, video capture, and user-facing VGA camera; 16GB of built-in storage; GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR radios; and a gyroscope, accelerometer and digital compass. The Nexus S is the first Android device to launch with built-in near-field communications, which will allow it to make contactless payments are properly equipped retail locations. Samsung and Google called Android 2.3 Gingerbread the fastest version of Android yet, and note that it now includes a redesigned user interface, an improved keyboard that supports multi-touch gestures, and VoIP-based internet calling. The Nexus S will be available unlocked in Best Buy stores starting December 16. The first variant available supports quad-band GSM/EDGE and 900/1700/2100MHz HSDPA at 7.2Mbps. It is compatible with T-Mobile's 3G network. It will cost $529 unlocked or $199 with a new T-Mobile contract.