Delivering on a promise, HTC is offering a software tool to unlock its Android devices that launched after Sept. 2011, allowing users to install custom software. The supported phone list doesn’t include AT&T or Verizon models, but the tool is working on some from these carriers.
Germany’s TV networks are getting ready to compete with Hulu before the U.S. site has even launched in Europe: The RTL Group and the Pro 7 Sat 1 Media AG plan to open their own Hulu-like site, offering catch-up TV for up to seven days.
It’s Tuesday and that can only mean it’s time for our weekly feature, the BlackBerry Buzz. The Buzz is where you’ll find out what’s been going on in the BlackBerry brambles. You’ll hear about everything that’s worth knowing in the awesome world of the BlackBerry. RIM (s rimm) has announced they are bringing the BlackBerry to China, and not just any old phones. The deal with China Mobile calls for BlackBerry models that will work on the LTE network. We don’t expect to see any LTE models on this side of the globe any time soon.
The Bolt browser has been updated to version 1.6, bringing faster page rendering. The new version also adds a password manager. Bolt can now be set as the default browser for the BlackBerry for users who wish to do so.
Foursquare for the BlackBerry will be entering into beta soon. The social network based on locations is growing in popularity, and BlackBerry owners will soon be able to join in the fun.
Dominating the Android world this week was the announcement by handset giant HTC that it will be releasing the most innovative phone to date using the OS by Google (s GOOG), the HTC Hero. This thin, curvy handset shares some of the features of the Android-powered HTC Magic, also known as the myTouch 3G, such as a 3.2-inch touchscreen. It will also sport an onscreen keyboard, like the iPhone (s AAPL).
But what sets the HTC Hero apart from all the other Android phones, be they already released or under development, is the user interface. Dubbed HTC Sense, it allows HTC to give its phones a uniform look regardless of the operating system being used. Sense is also designed to be configured by the user to fit their individual needs.
One of the features of Android that has been lauded by enthusiasts is its tight integration with Google services like Gmail. But by forgoing the standard Android interface, OS updates that are pushed to users over the air can’t be applied to the Hero; owners of the Hero will instead have to rely on HTC to provide them. This could set the stage for OS version fragmentation in the Android world that we have warned against.
The Android world may have been overshadowed by the release of the Palm (s palm) Pre and specs of the new iPhone (s aapl) this week, but developments for the Google (s goog) phone OS continued unabated. A new way to build simple apps for Android was released, and word came that not only may commercial e-books soon be joining the Android Market, but T-Mobile might be launching its next Android phone this month.
Google this week released the Android Scripting Environment (ASE), which is a platform for creating simple apps. A full scripting environment like ASE will make it much easier for OEMs to customize Android phones without a big development effort, which should result in some interesting releases. A post on O’Reilly shows a sample script to scan barcodes in Android that only takes six lines of code.
TmoNews has a “very trusted source” that the next T-Mobile Android phone, the myTouch, will be appearing in June. The myTouch is unconfirmed but is expected to be the HTC Magic, which has already appeared on the HTC web site. The HTC Magic is essentially the T-Mobile G1 without the physical keyboard, along with some other, minor differences.
And a Palm Pre version of the cloud-based mobile note-taking app Evernote was announced, which has some Android enthusiasts a little miffed. Android is now the only major platform for which Evernote hasn’t announced a version at least in development. It’s a bit strange that Evernote chose to work with the WebOS Pre and not Android, which has been out far longer.
More companies readied their Android phones for release this week, while others were hard at work figuring out how to use the operating system in non-phone devices.
Handset maker HTC (s htc) revealed that it’s helping AT&T (s t) get ready to join the Android (s goog) team with a new phone. The HTC Lancaster is a slider phone that looks a lot like the G1 that HTC made for T-Mobile but with a Windows Mobile bent: HTC is including on the Lancaster a special Android social messaging interface for consumers. It’s expected to hit stores in August. Read More about Android This Week: Samsung i7500 Greenlighted, Acer Netbooks Planned
Android anticipation continued to pick up steam this week, fueled in part by Google (s goog) executive Andy Rubin’s proclamation that 18-20 smartphones based on the OS would be released later this year, by some 8-9 different manufacturers. Rubin also shed light on how the OEMs must sign an agreement with the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), the consortium behind Android, to include Google software such as Gmail on their devices.
Smartphone king HTC, maker of the T-Mobile G1, is hard at work on other handsets based on the Google juice, including versions of the HTC Magic that will include Microsoft (s msft) Exchange support. The Exchange client is part of what one HTC executive called the company’s own “special sauce.” We fear, however, that such a mixture might lead to Android upgrade difficulties down the road if Google and the OHA don’t take steps to avoid them.
And this week saw T-Mobile G1 customers start receiving Android 1.5, aka Cupcake. Reviews of the new version, the over-the-air rollout of which had been briefly delayed, have been favorable so far. Android 1.5 adds video recording and an on-screen keyboard, the latter being especially important as handsets without physical keyboards, like the HTC Magic, are expected to increasingly start to appear.