Thunderbolt update nixes unlimited mobile hot spots

The software update being made available to the HTC Thunderbolt this week may be just the latest reminder that carriers not only giveth, but also taketh way.

Hidden behind all of the benefits, bug fixes, and improvements, Verizon has quietly removed the unlimited and free access to the embedded hot-spot functionality, according to DSL Reports. In other words, instead of being able to use the feature as they wish, Thunderbolt users now will have to contact Verizon to activate the hot spot and add the corresponding service plan.

While that's not a huge shock given Verizon's new monthly charges for using the hot-spot feature, it's just another sign of the new data regime at Big Red. Verizon even foreshadowed the change last month in a statement posted by Droid Life in which it warned that the free hot-spot promotion would end July 6 (the day before the carrier subsequently ended its unlimited data plans). … Read more

Android Market app gets overhaul, bookstore

Google has revamped its Android Market app for smartphones with a new look as well as some more products for purchase.

The Android Developers Blog points out that this new interface could work better for both customers and developers. The new user interface is intended to be more engaging as it showcases top apps and games while providing a quicker path to purchasing products. For developers, this ideally means that there are more opportunities for apps to get picked up and downloaded.

(Although, doesn't the box-like new design, as seen in the side screenshot, look a tad reminiscent of … Read more

Whip your brain into shape with Memory Trainer

Memory Trainer stimulates your brain with a targeted program of scientifically developed exercises. According to the app's developers (who reference several studies in their descriptions), consistent training is proven to improve your memory over time and even help lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Now, we can't say for sure that Memory Trainer did all that, but we can say that the app is fun, it gets progressively more challenging, and it's strangely addictive. You can engage with Memory Trainer either through a mapped-out 20 session program or through individual targeted exercises including TileFlip, Numberz, Sequencer, … Read more

Cutting fruit has never been this fun

Fruit Ninja is a simple, but well-made game that challenges you to slice and dice fruit with a ninja sword as it flies onto your Android screen. The controls are extremely simple, requiring you to swipe your finger through a flying fruit as you would slice with a ninja sword. There are three game modes: Classic, Zen, and Arcade. In Classic you're challenged to slice fruit as it flies on screen while avoiding occasional bombs that will end the game immediately or allowing three fruits to drop below the bottom of the screen. In Zen mode you won't … Read more

HP's new WebOS chief wants to hit the ground running

Hewlett-Packard is banking that its newly named WebOS chief, Stephen DeWitt, can tap into his start-up roots as he goes after the likes of Apple and Google with the company's fledgling mobile-device business.

DeWitt, who was named to his new position yesterday, will be busy with more than just the "official launch" of WebOS on July 17. He will also be responsible for convincing consumers that its TouchPad tablet is worth a look and that developers should start creating applications for his platform.

"There are a lot of priorities," he said in an interview with … Read more

Gingerbread now available for Droid Incredible 2

Marking its second Android software update in as many days, Verizon Wireless is now offering Gingerbread to owners of the Droid Incredible 2. Customers who have the HTC handset can manually search for and download the Android 2.3 update, which also addresses random reboots and freezing applications.

As is the case with other recent updates, the Droid Incredible 2 will have enhanced application management, improved copy and paste, and a new desktop docking app. For a deeper dive of Gingergread's features, please see our Samsung Nexus S review.

The full list of details for the Droid Incredible 2 … Read more

Evernote for Android goes big today

Android-toting users of the do-it-all note-taker Evernote, listen up. Whether you do your scrawling on your tablet or on your less generously proportioned phone, you're in for a delicious treat today, as Evernote introduces its shiny new Android app for tablets, along with a handful of serious new features for the rest of our Android devices.

First up, Evernote for Android tablets. Perfectly suited to the expanded real estate, the new Evernote app shows off an all-new Snippet View home screen, which displays your notes in a clean grid, and tucks all of the controls neatly along the left … Read more

Huawei Ascend II descends on Cricket

Beginning today, the Huawei Ascend II is now available for Cricket customers. We first saw the successor to the original Huawei Ascend at CTIA last March, and immediately noticed some differences.

Huawei's second Android smartphone with Cricket is sleeker, without the physical buttons and trackball. It's also slimmer, lighter, and more up-to-date, running Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Like the original Ascend, the Ascend II has a 3.5-inch HVGA screen (we were hoping for more advancements here), a 5-megapixel camera with camcorder, and a 600MHz processor (we had hoped Huawei would bump this up as well.)

The Ascend … Read more

CNET 100: Bonnie Cha's favorite Android apps

Editors' note: Until July 22, 10 CNET personalities are showcasing their 10 personal favorite Android apps as part of the CNET 100. With each post, you can read why they hold the apps so dear and you'll get the opportunity to vote for your own favorite title. Then after the series ends, we'll collect the full list of 100 apps and announce the 10 that you, our readers, love the most.

If you've ever read a smartphone review on CNET, chances are Senior Editor Bonnie Cha has written it. From Android, to WebOS to Windows Phone 7 (… Read more

More malware targeting Android

Researchers are reporting the discovery of malware targeting Android devices, specifically a new variant of the DroidDream Trojan found in apps that Google removed from the Android Market, as well as malware on alternative app markets in China designed to run up premium SMS bills, and a data-stealing Trojan that targets one-time bank SMS pass codes.

Mobile-security firm Lookout warned of new variants of DroidDream Light that were found in the Android Market and subsequently removed by Google. "Fortunately the malware was available in the Android Market for [only] a short period of time, so the number of downloads … Read more