Posts Tagged ‘android’

The Nexus is a Lexus

Hear me out on this one.

When Google finally released ‘their’ very own phone, the Nexus One, today, the internet was awash with talk of how Google have finally rose up to Apple and are ready to take the iPhone head-on. It’s all very impressive, but why do I feel like anybody who’s rushed ahead and bought one has been taken for a bit of a mug?

courtesy of engadget.com

Ever since the first shaky leaked photo hit the internet, the main focus has always been on the software itself. I defy anybody to say that the Nexus One (pictured above, courtesy of engadget) is the best-looking device they’ve ever seen. It looks very plastic and, to be honest, prototype-ish. It gives me the same impression as the Nokia N82 in terms of its design, it just looks unfinished. It has to also be said that Google haven’t actually made the hardware: it has been built to specification by HTC, already the leading manufacturer of Android handsets.

I get the feeling that the device is being pushed as an engineering statement. They want to show the world what they can do with the next stages of the Android platform, and they also want to introduce a new way of buying devices – Google Checkout. The phone comes SIM-Free for the time being, with subsidies via network carriers coming in Spring 2010. They have also set up target shipping to the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong. At $529 (roughly £330 excluding shipping costs) it can be a pretty big gamble to those interested in buying it.

This is where my slightly strange link with a Japanese car manufacturer comes in. Recently, Lexus – well known for making bland, albeit exquisite luxury cars – surprised a lot of people by bringing out a supercar. No, really.

The Lexus LFA

It’s called the Lexus LFA. With around 550 bhp and a top speed of 202 mph, it’s clearly very impressive. Also impressive is the way they’ve made a V10 engine take up the same size of a V8, with the weight of a V6. Every part of the car is tweaked to make it as aerodynamic as possible. But at £340,000 not a lot of people are going to be driving it, and Lexus still aren’t going to make any money on it. So what is the point in its existance?

Well, much like the Nexus One, the Lexus LFA, I feel, has been created to show the world what their respective teams can come up with. Google with its software, and Lexus with its engineering. We’ll surely be seeing their USPs in other things in the near future. Especially so with Android, as the Nexus is only running 2.1 of the OS, meaning sooner or later it will be available to every Android handset out there. At this moment in time the Nexus One is a simple showcase of what is to come.

If you buy one now, you’ll kick yourself when the Nexus Two comes along. You heard it here first…

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Spotify Mobile now live!

spotify

Spotify on the App Store

As of now, Spotify Mobile is available for download from the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace for iPhone, iPod touch and all Android handsets.

Download of the software is free, but to use the application you are required to have a premium spotify account. Hopefully this will eventually change to only requiring premium for local downloads, as I feel being required to pay £9.99 a month is a bit too much considering how much I use Spotify. Fellow blogger David Gilson has written up a nice debate article about the pricing scheme on his blog.

Features include full access to all of Spotify’s library, streaming of said music, and also a nifty little feature that lets you download and store a playlist locally so you can listen to it even while offline. The app also live syncs any playlist additions or amendments.

So what are you waiting for? If you have an iPhone or Android device and a premium account on Spotify, this may well be your killer app!

Spotify have also just announced, on their blog, that they are developing the Mobile application for S60 devices. This is fantastic news for me, considering my next phone may be the Nokia E55. S60 demo video is embedded below:

If you’re still looking to get into Spotify, I have 5 invites remaining to give away, more details here.

T-Mobile has Pulse

I was surprised to find this morning that there’s a third Android handset making its way to T-Mobile. T-Mobile UK’s official twitter page posted a tweet about an upcoming handset called the Pulse (below)

tmobilepulsefront

Front view of the Pulse and its bespoke Canvas UI

It’s the first Android handset on T-Mobile to be produced by a manufacturer other than HTC. Instead the Pulse is being built by a company called Huawei. It’s also the second time in almost as many weeks that a new Android handset has been released on a network out of the blue (Samsung’s first Android handset, the Galaxy, is available on O2 now)

The Pulse uses the same QualComm MSM7200A chipset as the current “flagship” Android phone, the HTC Hero, offering 528mHz of processing speed. Further comparisons reveal that the screen is larger than the Hero’s – 3.5″ instead of 3.2″, and the Pulse has 2GB of on-board memory, which is larger than the paltry 288MB in the Hero; memory is expandable to up to 8GB using MicroSD.

The alleged 210 minutes talk time is pretty poor for a touchscreen smartphone, and there’s no standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which seems like a backward step for any smartphone in 2009. There’s a 3.2mp camera on the back, without an LED photolight or Xenon flash, so low-light shots are likely to be noisy. The camera features autofocus and video capture software.

tmobilepulseback

As you can see, the 3.2mp camera has no flash

In other news the Pulse also sports its own customised layer on top of the standard OS – HTC began this with the Sense UI on the Hero, and now T-Mobile have produced their own UI called ‘Canvas’, featuring up to 6 customisable home screens.

The Pulse will be the first Android handset to be released on Pay-As-You-Go. T-Mobile announced that the Pulse will cost £180 from October, whilst you can either pay £5 a month for internet access, or up to £1 a day depending on usage. This pricing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, so I’ll clear things up once I know more. Contracts may be offered but pricing has yet to be resolved. I think T-Mobile will have quite a lot of success with this handset on PAYG however, £180 on any kind of smartphone is a pretty good deal, the closest “smartphone” I can think of at a similar price is the 5800 XpressMusic from Nokia, and even then it isn’t a true smartphone, per se. It even costs £15 more on the same network!

In all, it looks like a very good, low-cost entry into the world of smartphones for the more mainstream audience.

The complete T-Mobile Android family

The complete T-Mobile Android family