13 Comments

Summary:

Motorola’s Droid 3 hits the Verizon network and looks to be a worthy addition to the Droid line. Google Talk for Honeycomb tablets are gaining video stabilization while the Google+ app is winner for Android users. A new Labs feature adds downloadable maps on Android smartphones.

android-this-week

The Android phones keep coming from manufacturers and this week, the most prominent addition came from Verizon. Motorola’s Droid 3 is available online and arrives in stores on July 14 for $199 after contact. The original Droid, combined with the marketing muscle of Verizon advertising and the debut of Android 2.0, helped kick off Android’s strong market share growth and the Droid 3 looks a worthy successor to the line. Those that require a hardware keyboard on a new Android smartphone should consider looking at the Droid 3.

Among the major improvements, the new handset offers a 960×540 resolution display, a 1 GHz dual-core processor, and comes with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) out of the box. The keyboard has a small, fifth row of dedicated number keys, as well. And travelers ought to appreciate the support for GSM / HSPA networks; the phone can accept a SIM card for voice and data use in more than 200 countries around the globe. The Droid 3 has a front facing camera but until it sees Android 2.3.4, it won’t be able to use Google Talk for video chatting.

Android tablets, however, do support video chats in Google Talk, which is about to improve. SRI International, a non-profit research firm, announced this week that Google has chosen its 2D video stabilization software for Google Talk on Honeycomb tablets. The software not only minimizes any shaking on the incoming video but could also reduce the amount of effort needed from a device to encode the video, which can help battery life. Although few people are likely walking and talking on video, there is a growing trend away from stationary computing as activities become more mobile.

Another mobile activity is social networking and the new Google+ service is on a roll. Google’s own Android app for Google+ is actually better than the desktop experience and while it’s not a “killer app”, it could sway some consumers to either stay on or adopt Android handsets. Google has submitted an iOS Google+ app to Apple for review, but as of the time of this writing, no such app has been approved. Instead, iOS users are relying upon a web version of Google+ which is somewhat limiting. And it’s not yet clear if Apple will allow the Google+ app to upload photos instantly in the background, which is a native function on the Android version.

Android smartphones also gained another feature not found on other platforms this week: downloadable maps. Thanks to a new Labs feature in Maps for Android, travelers can choose locations and download a local copy of the area for use offline. Traffic and satellite data won’t appear, unless the handset goes online, but basic street information for simple, manual navigation is available in areas without a cellular data signal.

  1. Hey Kevin,

    I received my Droid 3 yesterday. Settings > About Phone > Android Version reports 2.3.4. When I try Google Talk, I don’t see any Video Chat option.

    Share
    1. Ooh! Well that’s promising at least, Evan. When Google rolled out video chat for Android phones, they said it was part of the Android 2.3.4 update. So perhaps Moto removed it?

      Share
      1. Kevin, listen, I know you’re busy and everything, but I’m going to need you to crack this bootloader, find a root exploit and build me an AOSP package for this Droid 3, ok?

        Share
      2. LOL! I’ll get *right* on that! ;)

        Share
    2. Just to be clear, do you know if any of your Google Talk contacts have video chat enabled on their tablet or computer? There’s no “option” to turn on or off for video chat. Instead, you would see a camera icon next to their name in the contact list. See: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/04/video-chat-on-your-android-phone.html

      Share
      1. So looking in the chat window in gmail, a number of my contacts have the video camera icon next to them. When I go to Talk on the phone, I only see the usual presence icon, no video thing.

        I’ve also tried connecting over Wifi and 3G with no joy.

        Share
      2. same thing here. running 2.3.4 but no video chat options in google talk.

        Share
      3. via moto’s site:

        https://motorola-enterprise.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/69514/~/droid-3—google-talk

        “Google Talk video chat

        DROID 3 by Motorola will not support Google Talk videochat at the time of market launch. We are excited about the potential of videochat to enrich the Motorola smartphone experience, and we are working actively with Google and Verizon Wireless to enable this feature as soon as possible.

        While we do not endorse or guarantee these solutions, or provide support for them, some owners have reported success using a 3rd party Android Application like “Tango”. You can search the Android Market for 3rd party applications that are available that will enable you to video chat. “

        Share
  2. This is a very informative article. Airpush ads on Android are an annoyance for mobile phones with small screens. Some are using freeware so they can’t really complain to the developers but maybe there’s a way not to annoy users? Just asking.

    Share
  3. what is the best android mobile available in the market today

    Share
    1. android 3.0 is the best

      Share
      1. He meant device not OS.Anyways ravi,galaxy 2 i think is the best android phone right now.

        Share
  4. I got my Droid 3 on Friday. It’s been working fine until today when I got a flashing black screen that said the following, “BP paniced into BP dump mode can’t find sd card.” It wouldn’t let me do anything with the device and then proceeded to turn itself off and back on. I hope this doesn’t become an issue.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post