We would like to apologize for the lack of articles during the past few days. Real-life issues have come up, and unfortunately we’ve been too busy to maintain the site. Not to worry, we will continue maintaining the App Drawer to the best of our abilities. We have two new author candidates who will hopefully start writing news and editorials in the coming days.
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Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO and president of NVIDIA, confirmed that we will be seeing the infamous quad-core Kal-El chip in tablets by the end of the year. It hopes to have them in smartphones by the middle of 2012, with the Tegra 2 being used for mid-range devices. We feel that currently the technology doesn’t demand the raw power of quad-core, but we have the sneaking suspicion that it will become one of the biggest buzzwords in the mobile marketplace next year. What about you? Do you feel that the mobile space really needs the power of the Kal-El behind it? Remember that this is the chip that was able to power 4 HD screens at one time. Do we need that much graphical power in our smartphones and tablets at this point in time?
You remember the new Samsung Galaxy Note that was previewed at IFA last week? The phone looking to give the stylus a comeback? The 5.3″ screen? Well, pricing has been announced for the U.K., and it isn’t pretty. If you want to pick up one of these guys, you should expect to drop £600 (about $950). Just for comparison, that is about $300 cheaper than the Galaxy Tab 10.1, though it’s still cheaper than the 32GB iPhone 4, which runs about $980 off-contract. We still have no idea what it will cost in the US, and Americans should note that it is common in the U.K. to purchase phones off-contract and pay less for their monthly plan.
Personally, we would rather have a Galaxy SII than this monster. Sure, the screen looks fantastic, but we don’t find the premium in price to be worth it. Maybe once US pricing is announced, we’ll have more to say, but for right now, we have to give this one a pass.
The Playbook is a device with a lot going for it, but a lot holding it back as well. The major problems with the device, in our opinion, are the lack of native PIM (email, calendar, and contacts), an as-yet-unreleased NDK, and a lack of quality apps. Well, one of those problems seems like it will be remedied, at least to a degree. It seems that the Playbook is going to be getting BBM, the most-lauded feature of the BlackBerry, sometime (hopefully) soon. This screenshot was found on the App World page on RIM’s own website, so we can hope that this is semi-official confirmation. It might be included in the upcoming Playbook software reboot, branded Tablet OS 2.0, but there is no release time frame assigned to it right now.
Are you a BlackBerry fan on Verizon, but prefer the stylings of the full-touchscreen device to the classic form factor of the Bold? Well, tomorrow is your lucky day. Verizon announced yesterday that they will be carrying the BlackBerry Torch 9850 (the one without the slider) online September 8th and will be available in stores September 15th. It will be available for $200 with a 2-year contract.
By Preston Pettit
Android cell phones may be powerful devices, but these devices don’t have endless battery life. In fact, many owners would be happy to make it through a single day, hoping that a nightly recharge is sufficient.
But sometimes it isn’t, and a number of factors have conspired to reduce smartphone endurance over the past several years. Thinner designs with less room for the battery has been a major contributing factor, along with larger and brighter touch responsive screens, faster and multicore processors, software that runs in the background, and power-hungry GPS antennas. The move to 3G and 4G networks has also taken its toll. Our battery life test results drop significantly—sometimes more than half—when we’re using an AT&T or T-Mobile phone in 3G mode instead of 2G alone. There’s more to poor battery life than that though. There are plenty of ways you can reduce the evaporation of power from your Android device.
Try these 6 tips to extend your handset’s battery life:
Step 1: Disable Flash. Flash programing requires a lot of horsepower to run especially on a small device such as a smartphone vs. a computer that usually has a more powerful processor. Disabling Flash may reduce your phone’s functionality however, so this isn’t one of our favorite options.
Step 2: Update your apps. Applications often get updates to reduce their running time and thus reduce power consumption. The less time your phone spends running a program, the less juice it uses running said program. You may need to update your OS to get some of these updates, and that’s usually worth it. I am currently running a Samsung Captivate as my personal handset on Android 2.2, and I can’t get the functionality of apps released for android 2.3 yet. When I updated my OS from Android 2.1 to 2.2, every single app that I had updated as well, and battery life was greatly enhanced. I expect the same to happen when I update to Android 2.3.
Step 3: Set your display to adjust brightness automatically. Do not run your screen as bright as you can all the time, otherwise 90% of the juice your phone actually uses will go towards the display even with today’s more efficient displays. You may not be able to read your phone’s display in all situations, so again this is not one of our favorite options. [ed note: I would actually recommend manually controlling the brightness, but adjusting it to the lowest brightness necessary to read your device clearly. Sometimes auto-brightness sensors can be a little... wacky. We recommend an app called Quick Settings for fast access to these options.]
Step 4: Reduce Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace polling. You do not need to be posting or downloading updates all the time. Do people really need to know that you are at the grocery store and can’t find any Italian-flavored pork Sausage? I don’t think so, in fact they probably don’t even care! Spending less time on these display heavy applications will greatly extend your battery life. In the end, it’s just a phone and that’s its primary purpose.
Step 5: Turn off your unused antennas. It may be nice to have GPS on your phone, and it may be nice to have 3G or 4G access all the time, and it might be great to have Bluetooth or Wifi access as well, but when your phone is sitting in your pocket… guess what those antennas are doing… That’s right, nothing but using up your phone’s power supply. Turn off what you aren’t using, and turn it back on when you need it.
Step 6: See what’s hogging your battery life. Go to Settings -> About Phone -> Battery Use to get a good management as to where your power is going. Based on this information turn features off as they are uneeded or not used, and your battery life should increase.
Lastly, if none of these options combined can get you through your day then you could always go on ebay and buy an extended battery. I went and bought a cheap one for my Captivate, we’re talking $16 from Hong Kong here (you don’t even really need to spring for the $60 extended battery, the $16 one will do fine [ed. note: I would caution you to be careful with this, because you will often find that cheap, third world batteries have been mislabeled as having a higher capacity than they actually carry. Also, make sure that the battery is compatible with your device. We would hate to be responsible for your phone shorting out or worse.]). Using the stock battery provided with my phone, I would get home at the end of the day with ~30% remaining battery life. After adding an extended battery, I now typically get home with ~70% battery life remaining. Just make sure you get the right battery and cover for your phone. If you buy the right battery, but the wrong cover, then you will have to build a cover yourself out of duct tape, and lets face it, that’s just not classy. In my opinion, the extra life added to my phone was completely worth the 1/8 inch of pocket real estate.
These are just some suggestions for getting more life out of your device. Do you have any other tips or suggestions for squeezing the last bit of life out of your phone? Leave us a note in the comments below!
Excited about the prospect of LTE speeds on AT&T’s network? Well, after seeing these speed test results, so are we. Now, keep in mind that these tests are not representative of a live tower with thousands of people on it, but these speeds are comparable with what was available on Verizon during its LTE speedtests.
Oh yeah, and these speed tests were done on the HTC Holiday, HTC’s upcoming LTE Android. Looks cool, no?
One of Sony’s new Android tablets is now available for preorder in the US. The cost is in line with similarly-specced devices at $499 for the 16GB version. This one has an interesting feature that we haven’t seen on other tablets, though we’re not sure if it will excite anyone: it has an infrared remote for controlling Sony-branded devices. It will also have the ability to connect to the Sony Entertainment network. Does this device excite anyone out there, or will it just be another Honeycomb tablet?
4.3-inch 960×540 display.
1.5GHz dual-core processor.
16GB internal storage.
Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.5.
Sound good? It does to us.
This is an image of the HTC Ruby, which will probably be called the Amaze 4G when it is released on T-Mobile this October (or so the leaks say). It looks like a super-sized HTC Sensation, which probably frustrates current Sensation owners. And just a note: Sense was not ready for the device when the picture was taken, so that’s why you see a stock build of Android on the device. Don’t worry, the final release will have the latest and greatest version of Sense up and running.
If Best Buy is to be believed, this leak gives us two valuable pieces of information. Firstly, it seems that we have a confirmed release date for the iPhone 5/4Gs: it will be coming out no later than early October (assuming things go according to plan; note their disclaimer). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they are expecting it to launch on Sprint as well as AT&T and Verizon. If this were to happen, then we would have the iPhone on all three of the top US carriers, dramatically increasing the number of possible iPhone owners. While it is unlikely that it will have WiMAX, this will be one of the top devices on Sprint’s network and is likely to attract a lot of customers who wanted the iPhone but were unwilling to change carriers. Conversely, there are some people who have iPhones, but would like to switch to Sprint for unlimited data and lower plan prices. What say you? If you are a Sprint user, would you be interested in the iPhone 5? Or if you’re a current iPhone user, would you consider switching to Sprint to save some money each month?