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Android phones proliferate

Oct 23, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Motorola posted and then removed specs for its Verizon-destined, Android-based “Droid” phone, says eWEEK. Meanwhile, Motorola “Calgary” and “Zeppelin” Android phones have been tipped, T-Mobile launched Huawei's Android-based “Pulse” phone in the UK, an HTC Desire photo has appeared, and HTC released source code for the Hero, say various reports.

So many Android phones have been announced or rumored over the last few weeks, we're sure to have missed a few, but this is the latest rundown of another busy week in Android land. The Android model that keeps cropping up as the next "iPhone" killer (supposedly supplanting the non-Android, Linux-based Palm Pre for that dubious honor) is the Motorola Droid.

After running through a series of nicknames, including the Sholes and the Tao, the Droid was officially "leaked" in an ad campaign launched by Verizon Wireless last Sunday that trash-talks the iPhone for various deficiencies. By eWEEK's reckoning, the Droid will officially launch on October 30th, although others have pegged the date as the 28th, or even earlier, and some have said it won't launch until early November.


Yesterday, according to an eWEEK story by Michelle Maisto, Motorola's "secret" web page of specs and photos was discovered and posted by the BoyGeniusReport, which has been all over the Sholes/Tao/Droid story from the start. (A BoyGeniusReport Droid photo may be seen at right.)

The page was promptly removed, but not until the site had replicated it. Not that it really mattered - the BoyGeniusReport has already acquired and tested the phone, calling it "the fastest Android device we've ever used," with "easily the best screen we've ever seen on an Android handset." The review concluded that the slider phone was "the Android device to beat, and easily the most impressive."

Droid specs revealed

We won't detail all the Droid specs here, especially since a few software details could change by launch, but a link providing more information may be found at the end of this story. According to eWEEK's summary, the phone is equipped with a 550MHz processor and ships with a preinstalled 16GB microSD card. The Droid is said to weigh six ounces, measure 2.4 by 4.6 by 0.5 inches, and feature a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 3.7-inch WVGA (854 X 480) touchscreen.

The Droid supports CDMA 1X 800/1900 and EVDO Rev. A networks, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS, says eWEEK. Other features include an accelerometer, a five-megapixel camera with four-times digital zoom, auto-focus, image stabilization, dual LED flash, and 720 by 480 video capture. The battery is said to provide 385 minutes of continuous usage.

The MotoBlur interface and web service, which is available for Motorola's Cliq Android phone, is not available, but the phone is said to run Android 2.0, as well as Google apps including Google Maps and Google Calendar.

Earlier this week, Maisto interviewed a number of analysts, who were confident that the Droid could give the iPhone a run for its money. Analysts described the Droid as "likely to be a serious challenger to the iPhone," and capable of offering both Apple and Palm a "sharp jab in the ribs," says the story.

More Mot Android phones rumored


While Verizon customers are still waiting for the Droid, other Motorola Android phones have also been tipped recently. Earlier this week, the BoyGeniusReport ran a photo of a Motorola Calgary phone, which appears to be a lower-cost Android option for Verizon compared to the Droid. Unlike the Droid, the Calgary (pictured at left) offers the MotoBlur interface, according to the story.

The Calgary offers three touch-sensitive Android keys on the display, as well as an optical joystick, and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, says the story. Additional features are said to include a three-megapixel camera, 3.5mm headset jack, GPS, digital magnetometer, WiFi, and a microSD card slot.

Also this week Phandroid announced it had uncovered a WiFi interoperability certificate from the Wi-Fi Alliance for a "Devour" phone from Motorola that it speculates is an Android phone. The site also allows, however, that Devour might be just another name for the Calgary, and the story does not offer any additional details.


Meanwhile, Chinese tech site Digi.QQ.com published some specs and pictures of a China-destined Motorola Zeppelin phone. According to a write-up by AndroidOS.in, the ribbed-grip Zeppelin (pictured by Digi.QQ.com at right) offers a 3.1-inch, 480 x 320 touchscreen, and supports HSPA 3G networks. It also provides WiFi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, GPS, an FM radio, and HDMI output, as well as a five-megapixel camera, says the story.

Huawei's Android phone emerges in the UK as pre-paid T-Mobile Pulse

Back in February, China-based telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies demonstrated its first Android-powered smartphone at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, predicting a third-quarter ship date. The mystery phone, or one of several other Huawei Android models rumored to be set for shipment this year, has emerged in the UK under the T-Mobile brand as the T-Mobile Pulse (pictured below).

T-Mobile's Pulse, built by Huawei

The tri-band 3G T-Mobile Pulse is equipped with 2GB of SD memory and a 3.5-inch touchscreen. Additional features include WiFi, GPS, and a 3.2 megapixel camera, says T-Mobile UK. Measuring 5.3 x 2.5 x 5.4 inches (135 x 63 x 136mm), the Pulse is said to provide four and a half hours of talk time. The cost is said to be 176 U.K. Pounds, or about $288 U.S.

HTC Desire shows its shiny face


Verizon has been widely expected to field an HTC Android phone, in addition to the Motorola model(s), and possibly a third phone with built-in MiFi capability, according to rumors. Some have speculated that the HTC phone is not the Hero, as some had initially believed, but a new phone called the HTC Desire.

Now the BoyGeniusReport has dug up a photo (pictured), and claims to have received a tip that the HTC Desire has been approved by the FCC, and has gained WiFi certification. The photo clearly shows a Verizon logo.

It is not clear whether the Desire is a new phone or another name for a rumored HTC Android phone called the HTC Dragon. The Dragon is said to be a modified version of the new Windows Mobile-based HD2, which is built on the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and offers the HTC Sense UI.

HTC releases Hero source code

Speaking of Sense, which is also offered on the now available HTC Hero phone from Sprint, the interface now appears to be hackable. This week, HTC published source code for the Hero, including the highly rated Sense UI. In short, developers can now dig into the Sense UI, play around with it, and create custom ROMs for the phone.

Availability

The eWEEK story on the Motorola Droid posting may be found here, and the previous story on the Droid's potential impact could be here. The original BoyGeniusReport story should be here.

The BoyGeniusReport story on the Motorola Calgary should be here. The Phandroid item on the Motorola Devour may be found here. The Digi.QQ.com story on the Motorola Zeppelin should be here, and the AndroidOS.in story on the Zeppelin may be found here.

The T-Mobile UK page for the Huawei-built T-Mobile Pulse may be found here.

The BoyGeniusReport story on the HTC Desire should be here.

HTC's developer page pointing to the HTC Hero source code should be here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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