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31 May 12 Sony Announces Waterproof Android Phones, the Xperia Go and Arco S


Sony Xperia Go

Sony’s Xperia Go will launch as the Xperia Advance in the U.S., and run on Android Gingerbread. Photo: Sony

Finally, a couple of phones that can survive soda spills and even accidental drownings.

Sony announced two waterproof smartphones on Wednesday. They both run dual-core processors, but one of the new handsets will ship with an outdated version of Google’s Android operating system.

The Xperia Go and the Xperia Arco S are both set for release in the third quarter of this year, though Sony officials haven’t yet said how much the phones will sell for when they launch. The Xperia Go, which will be called the Xperia Advance in the U.S., will ship running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), though an upgrade to Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is promised.

The Xperia Arco S will ship with Sony’s skinned version of Android 4. The latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, debuted last November on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and six months later, top phone makers such as Motorola, HTC, LG and Sony are still struggling to offer software updates to consumers. The Xperia Go’s use of Gingerbread is simply the latest example of this.

The Go is aimed decidedly at the low-end of the smartphone market, with a 3.5-inch touchscreen sporting a 480×320 resolution. Inside, the Go will house a 1GHz dual-core processor and a 5MP rear camera. The Go will be sold in either black, white or yellow.

The Arco S is aimed toward the high-end, with a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, NFC connectivity, a 12MP rear camera and a 4.3-inch 720p display. The Arco S will be offered in black, white and pink. Both the Go and the Arco S feature scratch resistant screens and, impressively, the ability to track finger input even when covered in water — something most waterproof gadgets can’t do.

Sony Xperia Arco S

The Sony Xperia Arco S is waterproof. Photo: Sony

Article source: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/sony-announces-waterproof-android-phones-the-xperia-go-and-arco-s/

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18 May 12 Researchers Tackle Android Fragmentation, Find 4000 Devices


Android fragmentation is always a hot topic among the Android faithful and detractors alike. But just how many different variations of the Google-based operating system are we talking about? New research found almost 4,000 distinct Android devices in the wild.

For the past six months, OpenSignalMaps has been collecting data about Android users who have downloaded its app. Of the 681,900 devices catalogued by the firm, researchers “spotted 3,997 distinct devices,” OpenSignalMaps said this week.

“We’ve looked at model, brand, API level (i.e. the version of Android) and screen size and we’ve tried to present this in the clearest form we can,” the company said.

Not surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy S II – which hit 20 million in global sales back in February – was the most-popular device, with 61,389 owners downloading OpenSignalMaps in the last six months.

Overall, OpenSignalMaps catalogued 270,144 Samsung devices.

HTC was the second most-popular brand, followed by Sony and Motorola. Overall, OpenSignalMaps picked out 599 separate brands.

“While the number of different models running Android will continue to increase we’ve seen Samsung take the lion’s share of the Android market, most of that due to the Galaxy product line,” OpenSignalMaps said. “Testing on the most popular Samsung HTC devices will get you a long way.”

The customizable nature of Android naturally helped create the almost 4,000 distinct devices, but “one complication is that custom ROMs can overwrite the android.build.MODEL variable that we use for the device model,” OpenSignalMaps said, prompting “a staggering 1,363 device models appear only once in our database.”

Still, the company did spot some little-known devices, like a 10.1-inch Hungarian tablet called the Concorde Tab, a dual-SIM Indian phone known as the Lemon P1, and a Spanish entertainment tablet, dubbed the Energy Tablet i724. There were even two Fusion Garage-based tablets.

What about Android version? Android Gingerbread is still the dominant version of the OS, with 55.4 percent, down from 65.6 percent last year.

“One year ago the top two Android versions accounted for 90 percent of devices, now it’s closer to 75 percent – a challenge for developers,” the company said.

According to recent data from Google, 64.4 percent of all Android devices are running Gingerbread. Slightly less than 5 percent are running the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.

A March report from IDC and Appcelerator suggested that Android fragmentation would drive developers away from the platform and contribute to its “slow erosion.”

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt raised eyebrows when he appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and argued that Android is not fragmented but “differentiated.”

For more, see Hey, Google: Here’s What Fragmentation Means. Also check out PCMag’s full review of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the slideshow below.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.


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Ice Cream Sandwich Home


ICS Customization


ICS Folder


ICS Multitasking


For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404540,00.asp

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