Saturday, December 12, 2009

Android This Week: Droid Gadget of the Year; Browser Wars

Time this week released its list of the top gadgets of the year, and the Motorola (s mot) Droid rings in on top. The Droid was chosen for being the first Android (s goog) phone deemed good enough to be an iPhone competitor. The big screen and physical keyboard were also listed as factors for making it the top device for 2009. The Droid beat out the iPhone 3GS from Apple (s aapl) and the Barnes & Noble Nook (s bks) reader.

Meanwhile, the web browser in Android is considered to be excellent, and is often compared to Mobile Safari on the iPhone. But competition is always a good thing, so it’s welcome news this week that both Opera Mobile and Mobile Fennec (Firefox) are coming to Android. Opera Mobile has long been considered to be an outstanding mobile browser, and is even included as the default browser on Windows Mobile (s msft) phones produced by HTC. Mobile Firefox is currently in beta testing on the Windows Mobile platform, with Android support expected to begin next year.

Plus, the Droid Eris has been available on Verizon (s vz) only for a short while, but the carrier has already issued an update this week to address a number of bugs. The update, which is currently being pushed out to phones, improves the handling of text messaging and other issues that owners had reported. To obtain the update, consumers must wait until their phone indicates an update is available for download.

Also this week, T-Mobile in the U. S. is rolling out an update to the Android Market that supports charging apps to a customer’s phone account. Until now, purchasing apps in the Android Market has always required a credit card. The update is invisible to the user and is being pushed out in phases. To determine if your Market app has been updated, check the version number in the Manage Applications setting. Any version higher than 1660 contains the new feature.


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