Instagram: Android version coming very soon, ‘better than our iPhone app’ says its founders

Some interesting news out of SXSW, no doubt. Famous photo-sharing iOS app, Instagram is headed to Android very, very soon. Instagram’s Kevin Systrom pulled out a Galaxy Nexus running a prototype version of Instagram, and flashed it towards the crowd. He continued to say that, “it’s one of the most amazing Android apps you’ll ever see,” and furthermore, “in some ways, it’s better than our iPhone app.” The app is currently in a private beta, and the team hopes “to have it out to people really soon.”

There also is confirmation of Instagram’s new stats:  27 million registered users, nearly double the 15 million announced back in December 2011. Good going.

Via: Techmeme, Image credit: @stefanetienne

Google’s Roboto font from Android 4.0 now available for download

The much-loved Roboto font seen in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, by Google, is now available for download. It displays all versions of the font: italics, bolds, different sizes, a specimen book, etc. However, Google makes note that it is only to be used for apps in the Google Play Store, but I highly doubt that you will not see it other places. Myself, for one, will probably use it on my next English paper, review, project, or presentation — with credit to Google, of course. Via: Android
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Brevity Review: The Nokia Lumia 710

This is the Nokia Lumia 710.

It is the very first Windows Phone of Nokia’s design to make way to the United States, made possible with a contract on T-Mobile USA, where the Lumia 710 receives decent HSPA+ data speeds. Powering the Lumia 710 is a preppy, little 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and some of Nokia’s additional enhancements, including Nokia Drive (their turn-by-turn voice navigation system) and “Nokia Blue”, a new color for the famous Metro tiles that run inside of the operating system. When using the Lumia 710 for a few days I noticed that it is one of the smoothest operating smartphones I have ever laid hands upon. Plus the rubberized body with plastic feels great to hold in your hands, even though it is not of the chic polycarbonate seen in high-end Lumia smartphones.

Nokia Lumia 710 Review Shots

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On the backside of the Lumia 710 is a 5 megapixel camera with a single LED flash and the capability to record 720p HD video. No doubt is it very clear and the fast shutting speeds that Microsoft has programmed into the camera app for Windows Phone Mango works well with Nokia’s fantastic past of cameras: pictures are crisp and clean, but can be prone to some ISO noise that can be seen in the photos. Same goes for the video, seen after the break when you’re finished reading the review.

Lumia 710 Camera Tests

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Battery life is all day, everyday, considering that it is mostly energy-efficient and has no WiFi hotspot capability (a minus, in my opinion). Otherwise, for the low cost, the Lumia 710 is in the same ranks as the Focus Flash (identical cost), except it lacks a front-facing camera for video chats, which is a waste, considering that Skype has just been launched on Windows Phone.

All in all, I bestow upon the Nokia Lumia 710 a humble 8.5/10 as its LaptopMemo Review Score. It is currently available on T-Mobile for $39.99 (web-only price) on a new, 2-year contract. Editor’s Note: Strangely, the plans include a mobile hotspot package, but there was no app for it on the review device, so I will leave it at that.

Pros:

  • Chic aesthetics.
  • Solid performance.
  • Great video, but some ISO grain in photos.
  • Long battery life.
  • HSPA+ 4G speeds are in decent 5-10MBps range.
  • Nokia Drive navigation.

Cons:

  • No front-facing camera.
  • No internet sharing (at least, on my unit).

Samsung: Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 Upgrade On March 10th (update: recalled)

Big news! Finally the Samsung Galaxy S II will see Android 4.0 via a Kies 2.0 desktop update, however and over-the-air (OTA) will take longer, so to make this quicker and perhaps more convenient, does the desktop upgrade. Owners of the United States variants of the Galaxy S II will have to wait longer due to the usual carrier tests and delays.

Sadly, Samsung just recalled the update saying it was not the right schedule.

Via: Samsung, Upgrade FAQ

The Next iPad Announced: LTE, A5X CPU, Retina Display, And iOS 5.1 On March 16th

This is the next-generation iPad. It is marvel of a tablet: it uses 4G LTE technology on AT&T or Verizon Wireless in the United States (plus 3G support worldwide and portable hotspot), a 2048 x 1536 Retina display of 9.7-inches (with 264ppi), a new quad-core GPU system-on-a-chip called the A5X (with dual-core processor), a strong auto-exposure, auto-focus, 5 megapixel backside-illuminated sensor with 1080p stabilized video (the same camera as the iPhone 4S), 10 hours of battery life like the iPad 2 and 9 hours on 4G, with a thicker and heavier body: 9.4mm thick and 1.4 pounds. It also features a new Dictation feature will allows the user to speak to the iPad to type, as you do with Android.

The new iPad will also launch with iOS 5.1 and iPhoto (which is a built-in photo-editing app with extreme maneuverability) and will retail for $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $629 for the 16GB 4G model, with 32GB and 64GB sizes adding an extra $100 and $200, each. It’ll reach stores on March 16th, but pre-orders start today in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan — and it’ll hit 100 more countries on March 23.

Great stuff, indeed.

Via: Apple

Google Play: Android Apps, Movies, Books And Music Into One, New Store

This is one of Google’s recent bigger moves: Google Play. It is described as an “evolution of the Android Market”, where apps, Google Books, Google Music, and movies would all be compressed into one major store, with apps for both phones and tablets being upgraded in the next couple of days. As Google puts it:

With Google Play you can:

  • Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
  • Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
  • Browse the world’s largest selection of eBooks
  • Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles

It’s a very large room, but with all of the evolution I’ve seen the Android Market go through since the days of Android 1.5, I can agree that Google PLay will allow for improved app discovery, if not better content.

Via: Google Play, Google Mobile Blog