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28 May 12 Motorola Videos Show Android 4.0 on Droid RAZR

Mobile phone maker Motorola’s update of the Droid RAZR to the Android 4.0 operating system appears to be on the way.

New official videos posted on the company’s Japanese website show the OS running on the handset. Spotted by Droid Life, several videos — some in Japanese –show off new features in Motorola’s custom version of Ice Cream Sandwich.

For instance, shortcuts for text messaging and the phone dialer have been added to the lock screen, so instead of unlocking the phone and then looking around for one of those functions, they’re right there; on stock ICS only the camera and unlock are available in this way.

You’ll also appreciate the way ICS lets you access your music controls directly from the lock screen when music is playing.

And if you’ve ever wanted to capture what you’re looking at on your phone’s screen, ICS makes it simple. Taking a screen shot is only a matter of pressing the down volume and power buttons simultaneously for a few seconds. The phone shows you a quick version of the image it snapped, then saves it to your gallery where you can store it or share with others.

The video lineup also includes one that shows off how Webtop 3.0 works. It’s an application that allows you to hook the phone up to an HDTV or monitor with an HDMI cable. Once the phone detects it’s connected to an external display it launches the Webtop app which lets you see all your apps on the bigger screen and access a full version of the Firefox browser.

Webtop came onto the scene back at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show when Motorola announced the Atrix smartphone and the “Lapdock” that made it act like a laptop computer. This was huge news because Motorola had somehow beat Microsoft and Apple in creating a converged smartphone-PC device. As CNET’s Jason Hiner aptly points out, now that Google owns Motorola the two companies are in a great spot.

“The success of Android has established Google as a key player in mobile computing devices, and once consumers and business users start looking to consolidate their many devices, Webtop could make Google the company that’s best positioned to make that consolidation possible,” he writes.

For the record, Motorola has said it will roll out ICS to Droid RAZR users in the second quarter, so that means anytime now.

Although it’s in Japanese, if you can’t wait to see how Android 4.0 looks on your RAZR, here’s video that will give you a glimpse.

Follow Christina on Twitter and Google+ for even more tech news and commentary and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter, too.

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18 May 12 $74 MK802 Android micro-PC beats Cotton Candy to the punch

A pair of inexpensive micro-PCs have generated quite a bit of buzz this year. The dirt-cheap Raspberry Pi started shipping in mid-April, but the FXI Cotton Candy has yet to make it out the door. The $200 Android PC-on-a-stick will also have some competition once it finally arrives: a very similar $74 AllWinner A10-based system has already popped up on online shopping sites.

Meet the MK802, which (like the Cotton Candy) features an ARM processor, Android 4.0, and WiFi connectivity. It’s not quite as powerful, with a single-core 1.5GHz AllWinner A10 processor and 512MB memory compared to a dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos chip and 1GB. The MK802 does offer two USB ports — one full-sized and one micro — and it utilizes the same Mali 400 GPU as the Cotton Candy.

One other difference is that the MK802 sports an HDMI port, not an HDMI plug. That means, of course, that you’ll still need a cable or a male-to-male plug to hook up to your HDTV or monitor. Really, though, that’s a reasonable trade-off when you consider that you can buy almost three MK802s for the same price as a single Cotton Candy.

If you do decide to pick up the MK802, remember that you’ll have to rely on your own stash of APKs or a third-party marketplace like the Amazon Appstore, at least initially. With the ridiculously low price tag on this device, it’s a good bet that the Android developer community will jump on this solid little stick computer and hack in support for Google Play in the very near future.

CNX Software, via Liliputing

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10 Jan 12 Visio, Google Unveil “Chrome’-Plated Stream Player

January 10, 2012

Partners Vizio and Google today unveiled the Vizio VAP430 Stream Player, a device they say can “turn any HDTV into an enhanced Vizio Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV.”

With the VAP430 connected to a HDTV over an HDMI cable, users can access content and services from their favorite apps and Websites using the included Bluetooth premium universal remote control with integrated touchpad. In addition to movies, TV shows and music on demand, the VAP430 lets users search the Web for even more entertainment options using the Flash-capable Chrome browser.

Users can also can download apps from the Android Market or access personal media like videos, photos and music that are stored on devices connected to the same home network as the stream player. Images are displayed on a connected TV set, and sound plays through the TV or a connected audio system.

Here’s how it works: Installing the VAP430 and connecting it to the Internet reportedly is a quick operation because of the built-in setup experience and 802.11n Wi-Fi connection. The VAP430 also has a HDMI pass-through that lets the user connect a cable or satellite box to the stream player and then pass the signal over to the TV. The smart TV interface overlays the live TV signal, allowing multi-taskers to search for the next thing to watch without completely stepping away from what they’re currently watching.

Bluetooth capability also allows smartphones to be connected  to the TV wirelessly. With the USB input, connecting any USB drive directly to the VAP430 takes only a plug in.

“We’re excited about what Google TV brings to our new VAP430 Stream Player,” says Matthew McRae, Vizio’s CTO. “This isn’t just an ordinary streaming box that accesses a few predetermined video services. It’s a true entertainment portal that opens up everything the Web has to offer as well as all the content consumers already have stored on computers and hard drives.”

In related news, Comcast’s blog today notes the rollout of the MSO’s AnyPlay device that reportedly enables live TV on a variety of Internet-enabled displays in the home.

“With AnyPlay, you can watch the channels that are included in your linear channel subscription through the Xfinity TV app on the iPad, and very soon the Motorola Xoom tablet,” it writes. “This means that while someone else watches a program in the living room, for example, you can watch another show on your iPad from the backyard deck, kitchen or other places around the home.

According to Comcast, the AnyPlay device works the same as any other set-top box in the home but, instead of delivering the incoming channel lineup to a TV, AnyPlay delivers the lineup to the Wi-Fi router on the home network.

Right now, only Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in some areas of Denver and Nashville are getting AnyPlay at no additional charge.  Other markets are in the works.

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