Feb 27, 2011

Nexus S 2.3.3 update adjusts screen's color temperature

We've been hearing reports about Nexus S' Android 2.3.3 update adding a yellow tint to the screen and even washing out its colors, but according to Google's Ry Guy, said patch is indeed intended to tweak the display's color temperature. Here's the full quote from Google's support forum:

"With your new OTA complete, you may notice a slight difference in the way colors are displayed on your Nexus S. For Nexus S, we have adjusted the color temperature settings to more accurately reflect darker colors at all brightness levels. The Gingerbread UI being darker, we found that the colors were not as accurate when the device was being used at lower brightness levels. For example, some users reported that the initial color temperature was too high leading to some darker greys having a reddish tone; with the new color temperature this is no longer the case."
So while this display tweak is well-intentioned, it looks like many commenters on both the forum andXDA-Developers aren't too happy with this. Being curious geeks that we are, we went ahead and manually updated our own Nexus S (and by the way, be sure to match your build number with the appropriate patch). As you can see in our comparison photos (shot with the same manual camera settings and medium screen brightness), the new overall color temperature is no doubt subtly warmer, although the dimmer brightness settings no longer suffer from the aforementioned red tone. Interestingly, we actually approve this change, and the Super AMOLED display certainly doesn't look washed out to us, nor do we see any noisy dithering that some have reported. Surely we can't be alone. Well, there's only one way to help solve this mystery: if you happen to be a fellow Nexus S owner who's applied this update, why not chime in below?

Nexus S and Nexus get Android Gingerbread 2.3.3, fixes random reboots and writes NFC tags

Your Nexus One is a second-class citizen no more: Today, Google's rolling out Android 2.3.3 to both its premier smartphones. The latest build, still referred to as Gingerbread, brings even more NFC goodies than foretold, as the Nexus S will soon be able to write (not just read) rewritable NFC tags as well as act as a glorified NFC tag itself. (You can see both possibilities in the three screenshots above.) What's more, Google tells us Android 2.3.3 will fix the random reboots that have plagued the Nexus S as of late, and offers other random bugfixes as well. You'll find the whole kit and kaboodle streaming to your phones over the air during the next few weeks to come. We're also hearing that integrated Facebook contacts will be treated differently in Android 2.3.3 -- we've reached out to Google for more information.

Samsung Galaxy S 4G now available from T-Mobile

Samsung's Galaxy S 4G might not have the very latest version of Android or too much hardware differentiation from the original T-Mobile Vibrant, but hey, it brings a front-facing camera and HSPA+ connectivity, so of course it costs $200. T-Mobile will have disappointed many with its clarification that the Galaxy S 4G will cost a pair of Benjamins on contract, exactly as much as its Samsung-built predecessor did seven months ago, and not as the carrier had originally indicated, $150. Also similar is the fact that T-Mo is launching this phone with an Android build that's one iteration behind the cutting edge, meaning the Froyo update headaches of last autumn may return in the form of Gingerbread jitters this spring. All the same, if the Magenta team sees fit to chop the Galaxy S 4G's price the same way it'sbeen doing with its other Android handsets, we could be in for a fine bargain in the near future. 

Motorola Atrix 4G Laptop Dock demo units have multitouch trackpads

We were crestfallen to discover that our review unit of the Laptop Dock for Moto's Atrix 4G didn't have multitouch capability, making scrolling a rather old-fashioned affair -- and considering that a desktop build of Firefox figures prominently into Webtop's capabilities, scrolling is something you'll be doing quite a bit of. Well, this is where it gets weird: a number of people on xda-developers are discussing the fact that in-store demo units of the Laptop Dock seem to mysteriously have multitouch added in, and at least one poster notes that a Motorola rep that visited his local store a while back had multitouch working as well. That means one of three things: either these units are physically different hardware, they're running a prerelease firmware upgrade, or they've got a feature that was pulled at the last minute, possibly because it didn't work very well. Unfortunately, the latter seems plausible because Motorola has indicated to us that the Laptop Dock's hardware doesn't support multitouch and it's not something we can expect to be added in down the road -- but we can hope.

Nokia sneaks a look at new Symbian UI during China event

Perched behind Nokia's head of smart devices, Jo Harlow, at a recent event in China is what appears to be a new home screen on an N8, yet more evidence -- hot on the heels of the company's MWC event -- that Espoo still has plenty of love in the wings for its dead-platform-walking. Notably, it appears they're looking at migrating key information to the top of the screen to create a dedicated status bar, which would presumably stay visible as you navigate from screen to screen -- akin to most other platforms on the market -- accompanied by a string of soft button icons at the bottom. Interestingly, the UI in some respects mirrors what we saw on the leaked shots of the apparently killed N9 -- small black status bar and icons along the bottom -- which would seem to tell us one of two things: either the N9 was a Symbian device all along, or the company had planned on standardizing UI elements between its future Symbian and MeeGo roadmaps. Either way, this looks like a nice improvement... and in all likelihood, a far cry from what we'll see when these guys start busting out Windows Phone 7 devices.

Microsoft details Windows Phone 7 update problem, 'small number' of Samsungs affected

Redmond is opening up and offering a few facts, stats, and tips around its first update to Windows Phone 7 -- an update that didn't go smoothly for everyone -- and it sounds like there are at least three distinct failure modes, two of which are pretty simple to fix. The company figures that somewhere around 10 percent of users attempting the upgrade encountered a problem, but of those, "nearly half" failed because they lacked a proper internet connection or enough disk space (turns out the update process takes a backup of the phone's contents just in case something goes horribly awry). Most of the remainder may have been swept up in the issue affecting "a small number" of Samsung devices, an issue that the company says it's working to fix as quickly as possible -- and in the meantime, they've turned the update off for those models. 

Put simply, when you get prompted to install the update, Microsoft simply recommends that you've got plenty of hard drive space on your PC (you can't do this one over the air) and a solid connection to the interwebs; some 90 percent succeeded in installing the new code, which isn't too shabby considering this is the very first update to the platform they've attempted so far. Let's just hope that brick rate is down to zero by the time the good stuff comes, right?

Must Watch Video: Android activations mapped geographically, chronologically, breathtakingly

Do you ever wish for an easier way to show your uninitiated friends what you mean when you say Android is growing? Well, here's the video for you: a Google-produced map of the world that throbs with Android activations over time, highlighted by some truly eye-opening flourishes in the immediate aftermath of marquee handset launches. The Google guys have even given us handy countdown timers -- "Droid launch in 3, 2, 1..." -- and broken things down by continent for easier viewing. Only thing missing is a soundtrack, so just have your Tron: Legacy OST loaded up and ready before jumping past the break.

LetsTalk goes out in a blaze of glory, sells Atrix 4G and Laptop Dock bundle for $250 as AT&T partnership ends

We can totally picture how this went down: AT&T appears to have made it not worth LetsTalk's time (orWirefly's time) to sell its phones anymore, which means they're parting ways staring next month. LetsTalk -- wishing to end its AT&T relationship in the most spectacular fashion imaginable -- has elected to sell the Motorola Atrix 4G / Laptop Dock bundle for $250 on contract after rebates, essentially half of what you'll pay through AT&T directly (LetsTalk runs Walmart's wireless store portal, which we've linked). The fire sale might not fix some of the dock's flaws... but it certainly makes them a little less painful.

iPad 2 Event Scheduled For 2nd March

If you thought the iPad 2 was going to be unveiled today then I'm afraid it's a date with disappointment for you because Apple have been sending out press invites for a 2nd March event that should see the device officially announced.

The event will of course be held in the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, an Apple staple, at 10 am PST. Recent rumours had pegged the iPad 2 as being delaye duntil at least the summer, but that's been safely debunked now.

Videos: Microsoft's Future Of The Interface

Windows Phone 7 doesn't even have copy/paste (yet), but Microsoft are looking ahead to future features and admittedly they do look pretty awesome.

It's not just specifically Windows Phone 7, but computing in general, but of course with advances in interface technology the ever present smartphone becomes part of that. So, for example, you see someone taking a picture and then putting the phone down on a surface to instantly transfer that picture (like the Pre 3 does at the moment it should be said). Hit read more for the video of the smartphone interface!


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