Unlocked Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc now on sale, but do we care?

Telling no one but its Web site, Sony Ericsson has begun offering the Xperia arc to U.S. consumers with an unlocked, no-contract $599 price tag.

Listed as having support for AT&T's 3G bands (850MHz/1900MHz/2100MHz), it's very possible that it may arrive later at at the carrier. T-Mobile subscribers can pick up an unlocked Arc as well, though it won't support T-Mobile's 3G network.

Sony Ericsson started off the year with a bang, announcing the Android 2.3-powered Xperia Arc at CES 2011. As one of the first Gingerbread-powered phones after the Nexus S, hopes were high and things looked good. Here was a super thin, gorgeous handset with the latest version of Android.

Hardware was impressive as well, with a 1GHz processor, 4.2-inch display, 1GB internal storage, an 8.1-megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support.

So at the time, it appeared as if Sony Ericsson had learned from past mistakes and could rise to Android greatness. Six months later, however, I'm not so confident. … Read more

Oracle might seek fees from Android handset makers

Oracle may be looking to collect royalties from Google handset makers, according to an analyst.

Oracle has directly asked handset makers, which currently don't pay anything to use the Google operating system for smartphones, to pay $15 to $20 a handset to license the technology for which the company claims it owns patents, said Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg in an article by IDG New Service on Network World.

So far, none of the companies that have been approached to license the technology have agreed to do so, Goldberg told CNET. Goldberg said Oracle asked various handset makers to … Read more

Ask Maggie: Apps for tracking smartphone data use

The unlimited data buffet enjoyed by many smartphone subscribers in the U.S. is ending. So now what?

As Verizon Wireless ditches its all-you-can-eat data plans, fear has spread among many smartphones users. People are scared that without unlimited access, they are doomed to pay more each month for data service.

In this week's Ask Maggie, I try to allay those concerns by offering some insight on typical data usage, as well as, some advice about how to use data more efficiently.

I also offer a college-bound freshman some advice from my friend and colleague Dan Ackerman on the age-old question: Mac or PC?

Ask Maggie is a weekly advice column that answers readers' wireless and broadband questions. If you've got a question, please send me an e-mail at maggie dot reardon at cbs dot com. And please put "Ask Maggie" in the subject header.… Read more

Lightbox, a two-headed photo beast

Lightbox for Android is a camera replacement and social photo browser app that automatically syncs all of your pictures to your account. If you like, you can even choose to make any of your photos publicly viewable on your photo wall as well.

When you first download and install Lightbox, you'll notice that two new icons pop up in your app drawer: Camera by Lightbox and Lightbox Photos. Don't freak out, though. These are just two different entry points to the same app--one brings you straight through to the photo browser, while the other … Read more

Google Map downloads cut the data cord

Google Maps has received a new experimental Labs add-on today that may simplify your life in areas with little to no Wi-Fi or data.

The "Download map area" add-on in the new Google Maps 5.7 for Android will store a map for a specific area you're trying to visit. You'll have to plan in advance with this tool, and downloading a map will take some time and storage space, but it beats lugging around a guide book, or worrying about getting enough signal in a trouble spot.

If you've got an Android phone running … Read more

Android Atlas Weekly 56: Q&A lightning round (Podcast)

Microsoft's wants more money from Android; a new tablet could cost you less money; and a lightning round Q and A session of your questions from Twitter.

Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (640x360)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS (640x360) EPISODE 56


M$ wants $15/Android handset from Samsung$15-per-android-handset/

Motorola, Toshiba Android tablets go below $500$500/

Kyocera’s Echo isn’t as fragile as it seems CNET Review: more

Avoid a sky-high bill by tracking your Verizon data use

Verizon Wireless didn't make many friends earlier this week when it confirmed that staring today, it will end unlimited data plans in favor of tiered options based on data usage.

Though current customers will be grandfathered in with unlimited data, the change may be more than a little confusing for new subscribers eager to trade up to their first smartphones. Forecasting how much data you need is difficult to do on your own, especially with no prior history. What's more, knowing how much data a certain app uses requires a bit of sleuthing on your part.

Thankfully, Verizon offers a number of tools to help put users into the right data add-on. All customers can dial #DATA on their handset to see their usage, while most Android and Blackberry users also can download the Data Usage Widget. And of course, seasoned Verizon customers are probably already familiar with the My Verizon Mobile service.

With tools like this it can't be all that scary, can it? Actually, you bet it is. I spent a few minutes playing around with a fourth tool in Verizon's Data Usage Calculator. Designed to get a feel for how quickly one might chew through bandwidth, it calculates how much data usage based on e-mails sent, Web sites visited, as well as music and video streaming.

I was shocked to learn that watching roughly one hour of high-resolution video per day will put me at 12GB of data. And that's without e-mails, Web browsing, or anything else. Even something as innocuous as letting your child watch YouTube videos could result in massive charges. … Read more

How to erase and restore a Honeycomb tablet

Tablets running Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb software do an amazing job connecting you to all of your personal online accounts. But how do you remove all of that personal information once you're done with it? How do you literally wipe the slate clean?

In this How To, you'll learn about erasing an Android Honeycomb tablet and restoring it to its factory settings.

Sprint to deliver fix for Nexus S 4G reception

After several weeks of frustration, Samsung Nexus S 4G owners should get a fix for the WiMax woes early next week. The carrier has yet to make an official announcement, but SprintFeed reported today that a software update scheduled for July 11 will enhance Wi-Fi and 4G performance and alter the signal strength indicators.

The update won't bring a new flavor of Android, but the improved connectivity should be more than enough for most users. The upgrade also promises to enable the NFC secure element and address the 4G widget, TTY support, and speakerphone audio quality.

Sprint made a good play two months ago when it added the respectable Samsung Nexus S 4G to its lineup. Not only did it bring some much needed stock Android to a CDMA carrier, but also it bested T-Mobile's version of the phone by adding 4G.

Yet, it was the 4G support that soon raised the ire of many Nexus S 4G buyers.… Read more

MetroPCS nabs another Android Huawei, Freeform III

MetroPCS quietly made two new phones available on its Web site, the Android-running Huawei M835 and the Samsung Freeform III, a QWERTY messaging phone. Both phones will officially launch on Monday, a MetroPCS representative told CNET.

The Huawei M835 is a compact Android 2.2 Froyo smartphone. It has a rather small 2.8-inch QVGA display and stands just 4 inches high. There's a 3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder onboard, plus Wi-Fi, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, 3G, and support for up to 32GB external storage. There's also DTS Envelo software for virtual surround sound. The handset costs $129 retail, but … Read more