[Update: Seasons] Angry Birds: v1.51 Adds 30 New Levels, Rio Bonus Level Unveiled, & SMS Permission Explained

Let’s just round up this morning’s crop of Angry Bird news as we’re sure you guys don’t want your feeds filled with it. Firstly: a new update is out! It adds 30 levels plus a special western-themed affair being called Ham ’em High, and takes another minimum of 8 hours away from your productive life. It’s free, as usual, so go ahead and check it out.

Rovio also promised a bonus level made to celebrate the launch of the movie “Rio”. The clue to unlock it aired during last night’s Super Bowl. How do you do it? Go to level 13-12, slinghsot the white bird backward, and have him drop an egg bomb. You’ll be pleased once you uncover a golden egg in the main menu. (This one takes on the shape of a football, appropriately.)

Angry Birds Rio – the game that takes cues from the Fox movie “Rio” – will be launched March 22nd to coincide with the film’s world premier in Rio De Janeiro.

Finally, many were surprised to learn that Angry Birds required permissions to carry out SMS functions. Most were concerned, as you’d expect, and Rovio responded: it’s to facilitate their Bad Piggy Bank service introduced a while back. The service was made specifically for platforms that didn’t natively allow in-app billing, such as Android.

The system uses SMS messages so that the carrier can tack the cost of downloadable content to a cell phone bill instead of requiring players to use a credit card. We haven’t seen it in action yet as the service is only available in Finland.

Google introduced native in-app billing libraries earlier last week, but it’s not likely that Bad Piggy Bank will go away unless carriers tap into the newly-added API. I think we can all trust Rovio to not do anything malicious or irresponsible with our SMS service, anyway. [via Android Police]

[Update]: Just got word from Droid Life that the update for Seasons is out, too: just in time for Valentine’s Day. Sweet! 15 levels, 3 unlockables, and even more golden eggs. Go and grab it.

Vodafone UK Rolling Out Galaxy S Gingerbread Update Today

After hearing that countries like Holland and Germany got upgrades to Android 2.3 for the Samsung Galaxy S, we figured the UK and other European entities wouldn’t be far off. And we didn’t expect a carrier to get it out so soon for branded devices – Vodafone has just issued a statement regarding its arrival. We’re also hearing that unbranded Galaxy S devices are receiving it in the UK, but have only heard of one account so far. Read on for the full slate of details, courtesy of Vodafone. (PS: American carriers, this is how it’s done.) [Thanks Gary!]

A new maintenance release for the Samsung Galaxy S is now available for Vodafone customers. This is an Android platform update to 2.3 Gingerbread which introduces a number of fixes and improvements which include;

 

  • Ul Enhancements (simpler and slicker)
  • New Android Keyboard, with easy copy/paste feature
  • Improved Power Management
  • Multiple Camera Management (front and back)
  • The ability to switch the device to GSM (2G) only mode has been restored in this update.

How will you get the latest software?

 

This can be done manually by connecting your handset to your computer via USB and opening the Samsung KIES application. You will be prompted that an update is available and should then follow the onscreen instructions.

 

Checking the software version

 

To check which version of the software you have on your handset you need to dial *#1234#

 

The new software version will show as i9000BUJV4

 

Verizon Replacing Buggy Fascinates With Other, Newer Devices

“It’s like raaaaaain on your wedding day..” Looks like some Samsung Fascinate owners are experiencing troubles fit for an Alanis Morissette song. Ironically, after receiving a minor software update that was supposed to fix incoming call quality, some Fascinate users are reporting they’ve stopped receiving calls altogether. That’s enough to steam anyone but don’t worry, Verizon is well aware of the issue. Big Red is offering free “upgrades” so-to-speak to anyone affected with this incoming call bug in the form of a replacement Droid Charge, Droid Incredible 2 or Droid X2. Not too shabby, right?

Before you get too excited these devices are “Certified Like-New Replacments” and you will have to bring the phone in to a Verizon store to verify your phone is affected. But hey, now you wont have an excuse for missing your nagging girlfriend’s calls anymore. Shoot.

[Via Engadget]

nook eReader by Barnes & Noble is Android Based!

A bunch of eReaders have come out in recent days and weeks but NONE of them were the rumored Barnes & Noble eReader until today when the company announced the Nook. Combine that with “eReader” or “eBook” and you have the problem of hearing someone say “Nookie Book” or “Nookie Reader”. But more importantly, the phone is based on the Android operating system.

How do we know? Barnes & Noble said so themselves in comparing the Nook to the Kindle (scroll down to “Other Features”):

nook-ebook-android

nook-pictureYesterday we totally number two-ed on an eReader called “Alex” for clumsily including a second screen. We liked the enTourage eDGe a little more. But as you can see on the left, Barnes & Noble got it best/right by implementing a convenient way to flip through book covers with a horizontal LCD panel below the main screen. Judging a book by its cover? LOVE IT!

The nook is actually looking like a winner – it has 6-inch E-Ink screen, 2GB internal memory to hold 1500 or so e-books, MicroSD slot, MP3 Player (thanks Android), External mono speaker, 3.5mm headset jack, wireless 3G via AT&T, Wi-Fi, 1 million books to purchase, access to public domain titles through Google, Newspaper and Magazine access, and PDF readability.

And there is a crazy twist: you can lend a nook book to a friend and they’ll be able to use/read it for up to 14 days! So for book lovers who read fast and can finish a book in a day… I hope you all make a lot of nook book friends! They don’t HAVE to have a nook, it will also work on the B&E e-reader software/app for PCs, Macs, iPhone, Moto phones and BlackBerries. Oh… and we’re guessing Android too.

The Nook will go on sale for 9 at the end of November, just in time for you to wrap it and give it to whoever the book reader in your life happens to be!

[Thanks Simon!]

T-Mobile Giving Away 10 Sensation 4Gs for Father’s Day

We aren’t the only ones holding a Father’s Day contest. T-Mobile’s trying to make some dads very happy on June 19th as they’ll be giving away 10 HTC Sensation 4Gs, a device set to come out in a couple of days. We’re not entirely sure what “giving away” means just yet, but we can’t imagine it doesn’t involve a contract or two. If you were planning on upgrading to this thing anyway then you may want to give it a shot. Details are forthcoming, says T-Mobile. [Thanks to all who sent this in!]

Verizon Knocking $50 Off of DROID 3 Price for Adding a Line

Looking to get the DROID 3 for a family member? While the phone debuted for 9.99 on a two-year contract, you may be able to get it a bit cheaper. If you add a line and choose to purchase the Motorola DROID 3, Verizon’s willing to shave a cool off of its price, making it 0 for admission. You know you want to take advantage – head over to Big Red’s portal to take care of that at once. [Droid-Life]

Motorola Droid 3 Gets User Guide Leak and 360 Degree View, Announcement Imminent

The Motorola Droid 3 is rumored to launch later this week, but you won’t have to wait to get your hands on the new dual-core handset’s user guide. DroidLife has managed to get their hands on the goods early, where you can get an overview of what to expect from the Droid 3’s new take on the Blur interface and other goodies ahead of the phone’s July 7th launch. If you still can get enough, a 360 degree take on the device is also available for your viewing pleasure. It all adds up to what should be an announcement from Moto and Big Red just about any minute now. User guide download and more images at the source links below.

[via DroidLife 1, 2]

Samsung Galaxy S WiFi is the Smartphone Minus the Phone

We had long heard whispers of a Samsung Galaxy S PMP, but figured we would just have to settle for the Samsung Galaxy Player, a mobile device not quite as capable as the good ol’ S. But Samsung didn’t abandon the project after all, as the new Samsung Galaxy Player WiFi is bringing all the features of the phone without a cellular radio. It will be available in 4 and 5 inch options.

We’re penned-in to spend some time with Samsung later this evening at MWC, so if we track this sucker down expect a hands-on to follow.

[via CrunchGear]

Wind Mobile Launches the Motorola XT720

it’s been a couple of weeks since we heard about the Motorola XT720 heading to Canada’s smallish carrier Wind Mobile, and now that time has come: you can grab the device up now for 0. It comes packed with a 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen, an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with xenon flash and HD video recording, Android 2.1, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, HDMI out, and a 768MHz processor. We reviewed the version of the phone for Cincinnati Bell Wireless here in the states not too long ago.

Motorola-Milestone-XT720-Android-Smartphone

While the software may differ between the two version, be sure to check the review out for a decent idea on how this thing performs (we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.) Head on over to Wind now if you like what you see. [via Into]

Android Code Day: Tomorrow in Cambridge!

If you haven’t signed up, you’re out of luck, but tomorrow is a gathering of Google Android Code Developer’s in Cambridge, MA. The event is from 10AM to 4PM in Harvard Square at the Charles Hotel.

The event is described by Google to be, “an immersive introduction and hands-on session for Android.” We’re hoping that all you Phandroids can report back and let us know how the Code Day went, what you learned, who you met, where you’re from, what you’re hoping for… we pretty much want to hear about your Android Code Day experience.

If we can get our hands on any keynote speeches, presentations, development sessions or any of the other useful happenings at Android Code Day we’ll publish them ASAP. And if you’ve got any… pictures, videos, etc of the event send them our way!

Cheers to the folks going able to make Android Code Day – good luck and have a safe trip!