New Gmail App Adds “Experimental” Feature – Get It Now For Your Galaxy Nexus [Download]

Looks like Google wrapped up a bonus treat for ASUS Transformer Prime users inside their Ice Cream Sandwich update. Apparently, a new “experiments” function popped up inside of the native Gmail app. Generally speaking when dealing with Android, you want to be wary of anything labeled as “experimental” but in this case, you need not worry.

This new “experiements” function enables a few new optional features inside of Gmail, the first allowing for a more broader search that dives inside of emails, while the another feature enables drag-and-drop functionality of “contact chips” (or small contact tiles) inside the app. Nothing too fancy but none-the-less very helpful if you spend a lot of time inside of Gmail.

While the new Gmail version 4.0.3-239410 came bundled inside the Ice Cream Sandwich for the Transformer Prime, Galaxy Nexus users, were sadly, left with the older version. But don’t fret because the all new Gmail app — complete with Experimental feature — has been extracted and is ready for the downloading (no root required) via the link below. Enjoy.

Download Gmail 4.0.3

If you are rooted, this version is said to work on any Android 4.0 ROM so give it a try. If it doesn’t work, simply uninstall and download the Market version. No harm, no foul. We still have no clue when we can expect this version to officially hit the Android Market but I imagine it wont be very long now.

[Via ComputerWorld | AndroidPolice]

AT&T Intros New Smartphone and Tablet Data Plans Starting at $20 per Month

AT&T has announced a new set of tiered pricing plans for data-hungry smartphone and tablet users. Data usage is broken down into five plans (three for smartphones, two for tablets) that provide varying bandwidth for prices ranging from to . It starts with the AT&T Data Plus plan, which allots 300MB of data for per month. For every 300MB chunk over that limit users will be assessed a fee. Things get a bit more manageable with the per month AT&T Data Pro 3GB plan. For power users there is the AT&T Data Pro 5GB with mobile hotspot and tethering. For both Data Pro plans every 1GB over the limit equates to a fee. For tablet users the AT&T DataConnect plan is available in two options. 3GB for or 5GB for .

For the average user, the options provide the most bang for buck with a lower penalty for going over the monthly limit. Current subscribers won’t be required to sign up for one of the new options when they launch on January 22nd.

AT&T Launches New Data Plans

Customers Get More Data, More Value

Dallas, Texas, January 18, 2012

AT&T today announced new data plans for smartphone and tablet customers that will launch this Sunday, January 22. The plans give customers more data and value.

The new smartphone plans include:

AT&T Data Plus 300MB: for 300MB
AT&T Data Pro 3GB: for 3GB
AT&T Data Pro 5GB: for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering
Smartphone customers needing additional data can pay per additional gigabyte on the AT&T Data Pro 3GB and Data Pro 5GB plans; AT&T Data Plus users will receive an extra 300MB for .

The new tablet plans* include:

AT&T DataConnect 3GB: for 3GB
AT&T DataConnect 5GB: for 5GB
Existing smartphone and tablet customers will have the choice of keeping their current plans or choosing one of these new plans, and the current .99 for 250MB plan for tablet customers will remain available.

To help customers determine which data plan best matches their needs, AT&T has helpful tools atwww.att.com/dataplans – including a data calculator where customers can estimate usage for their typical data activity. Once smartphone and tablet customers are on a plan, AT&T keeps them informed of their usage levels by sending usage alerts as they consume data within their plan. For example, a smartphone customer with AT&T DataPlus 300MB will receive a text message when they consume 65 percent of their data bucket, plus two additional alerts as they approach the 300MB provided with their plan.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

Customers are encouraged to keep their device’s Wi-Fi turned on because data usage over Wi-Fi does not count against a customer’s monthly data plan. As an added value, AT&T smartphone and tablet customers have access at no additional charge to AT&T’s 29,000 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide – the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network.** Customers can get more information at www.att.com/wifiaccess.

For more information, visit www.att.com/dataplans.

Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX Now Officially Available From Verizon Wireless

Grab your wallets, folks. Because one of the biggest and baddest Verizon has to offer is finally available for purchase. The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx is now officially available, online, from Verizon Wireless and can handle all the multimedia, streaming and gaming you can throw at it. This is all thanks to its 3,300mAh battery — those carrying-a-charger-with-you days are finally gone.

If you’re feeling especially chatty after buying your new Droid Razr Maxx (and who could blame you), the device is said to get somewhere around 21 hours of talk time on a single charge. And just because it offers almost double the battery capacity of the regular old Droid Razr, doesn’t mean it has to suffer in the looks department. Measuring in at only 8.99mm thick, the Maxx still keeps a relatively slim profile, making it attractive option against the rest of Verizon’s 4G LTE lineup.

If there’s one Android device to recommend to your friends, family or coworkers — this is it. You can pick up the Droid Razr Maxx from Verizon Wireless for 0 with an upgrade or 2-year agreement, 0 straight up. Or, if you’re a new customer, you can get the Maxx for a deeper discounted 0 from Amazon Wireless.

Anyone picking one up?

[Verizon WirelessAmazon Wireless | Droid RAZR MAXX Forums]

 

Panasonic Toughpad is an Android Tablet for Viera Smart TV Owners [CES 2012]

Panasonic is coming out with an Android tablet for businesses. It’s going to be called the Panasonic Toughpad and is a large rugged slate that is about as ugly as Cerberus but also as touch as Cerberus. This isn’t your traditional Android tablet as Panasonic has specifically made it to interface with their Viera Smart television units.

Using WiFi you can send content to and pull content from your television. For instance, if you have a photo or a webpage on your Toughpad you can “flick” it up to the TV and it’ll show up there. Similarly, you can bring content from the TV to the tablet (perhaps you found some directions to a restaurant and you want to take it with you).

The tablet can also be used as an oversized remote control among other things. Panasonic said they don’t currently have plans to bring the Toughpad to common consumers. I found that odd considering none of their use-cases showed the device being used in a busniess sense.

Overall the idea of the tablet and smart TV combo seemed pointless to me. The use cases all involved sharing content between the tablet and the TV and I don’t think many business people have a need for something like this.

The only thing I can think of to make this make sense is that the Toughpad was just being used as a showcase unit with a consumer model currently being planned and developed for distribution soon. Don’t quote me on that at all. See for yourself above.

Motorola SPICE Key is a Budget-friendly QWERTY Smartphone for Chile

Motorola continues to expand into the Latin American market with the introduction of the Motorola SPICE Key. The Android 2.3 smartphone is headed to Chile and features a full-QWERTY keyboards positioned under its2.8-inch touchscreen. Other specs include a 3MP camera, 1420mAh battery, and microSD memory expandable up to 32GB. The SPICE Key is now available from direct retailers.

[via Motorola]

HTC To Apple: First!

Until now, HTC has been mum about the whole Apple patent lawsuit. First Google had their back, then the Apple vs. Google thing heated up, but now we finally hear what HTC has to say and its a beautiful thing. They basically look the world in the eye and say, “Listen, we are innovators. We have been the first on many innovations in the past, we’ll continue to be first on many innovations in the future, and you bozos aren’t going to use scare tactics and legal shenanigans to prevent our innovations from reaching the masses.”

Of course that quote comes from me, but that’s my opinion of the press release’s stance. You can read the full press release below and provide your own opinion:

HTC DISAGREES WITH APPLE’s Actions

Seattle – March 17, 2010 – HTC Corporation today outlined its disagreement with Apple’s legal actions and reiterated its commitment to creating a portfolio of innovative smartphones that gives consumers a variety of choices. Founded in 1997 with a passion for innovation and a vision for how smartphones would change people’s lives, HTC has continually driven this vision by consistently introducing award-winning smartphones with U.S. mobile operators.

“HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself. HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation. “From day one, HTC has focused on creating cutting-edge innovations that deliver unique value for people looking for a smartphone. In 1999 we started designing the XDA[i] and T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition[ii], our first touch-screen smartphones, and they both shipped in 2002 with more than 50 additional HTC smartphone models shipping since then.”

The industry has recognized HTC’s contributions through a variety of awards including Fast Company’s 2010 Top 50 Most Innovative Companies and MIT Technology Review’s 2010 50 Most Innovative Companies. The GSMA also recently awarded the HTC Hero as the “Best Phone of 2009.” Some of HTC’s technology firsts include:

* First Windows PDA (1998)
* First Windows Phone (June 2002)
* First 3G CDMA EVDO smartphone (October 2005)
* First gesture-based smartphone (June 2007)
* First Google Android smartphone (October 2008)
* First 4G WIMAX smartphone (November 2008)

pocket_pc_phone
The T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition by HTC was the first 3.5-inch color touch screen smartphone in the United States in 2002

In 2009, HTC launched its branded user experience, HTC Sense. HTC Sense is focused on putting people at the center by making phones work in a more simple and natural way. This experience was fundamentally based on listening and observing how people live and communicate.

“HTC has always taken a partnership-oriented, collaborative approach to business. This has led to long-standing strategic partnerships with the top software, Internet and wireless technology companies in the industry as well as the top U.S., European and Asian mobile operators,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of HTC America. “It is through these relationships that we have been able to deliver the world’s most diverse series of smartphones to an even more diverse group of people around the world, recognizing that customers have very different needs.”

For more information on HTC’s history of innovation, please visit: www.htc.com/history.

I like that response… classy. Or should I say, “Quietly Brilliant”? Kind of ironic since their former tagline was “Innovation” and now they’re being sued for allegedly borrowing technology instead of innovating themselves, so they issue a press release reminding everyone how innovative they are. I don’t know – kind of funny if you ask me.

Samsung Denied Second 3G Patent Claim Win in Germany

Judge Andreas Voss works quickly, no? It was only one week ago that the judge ruled in Apple’s favor regarding a 3G patent claim from Samsung, and the second of Samsung’s five claims has been denied this morning.

Florian Mueller, who reportedly attended the sessions, says that the judge’s two rulings may have been based more on the validity or infringement of the patent and mentions that Samsung’s three other 3G claims and two other software experience claims may still have a chance.

To be honest it’s hard to understand the thought processes behind these rulings but we can’t say we’re patent experts at all. For what it’s worth, Forbes believes that EP 1,005,726 is the specific patent being ruled on today, but that is not confirmed. Read below for that patent’s description:

“The patent covers turbo encoding and decoding device as well as method for process frame data according to quality-of-service. ”

A turbo channel encoding/decoding device for a CDMA communication system. The device segments an input frame into multiple sub frames of an appropriate length when the input data frame is very long, and then encodes and decodes the sub frames. Otherwise, when the input data frames are very short, the device combines input frames into one super frame of an appropriate length and then encodes and decodes the super frame. After frame encoding/decoding, the frames are recombined into the original input frames.

[FOSS Patents, Forbes]