An Android handset arguably doesn't come of age until its been rooted by the modding community, and two recent devices have just now got their stripes. Both the Motorola DROID and the Acer Liquid A1 have been granted pretty much one-click rooting, opening the door for the sort of hacks, ROMS and reskins that have flourished across the Android platform.
In a move almost guaranteed to provoke controversy, TIME have announced their "Top 10 Everything of 2009" list and the Motorola DROID pips the iPhone 3GS to the post for the number one spot in the gadgets category. In fact, Apple's latest smartphone slots into fourth position, trailing the Barnes & Noble nook in second place, and - somewhat bizarrely, for all that we appreciate the engineering involved - Dyson's Air Multiplier fan in third place.
Verizon have pushed out an update for the Motorola DROID, and among the changes are the much-anticipated fix for the Android smartphone's unusual recurring camera bug. The OTA update - AP:ESD56/BP:C_01.3E.01P - also improves battery life and speeds up visual voicemail notifiers, according to Verizon, together with generally addressing overall OS stability.
We're filing this particular tidbit in the "we'll believe it when we see it" box, but according to Verizon the HTC DROID Eris will seen an update to "newer Android operating system software" in Q1 2010. phoneArena's sources have suggested that the Verizon DROID, meanwhile, will get the Android 2.0.1 update on December 11th, while both it and the DROID Eris are expected to get Android 2.1 on January 22nd.
The Motorola DROID's bizarre date-related camera bug will apparently be addressed "within the coming weeks" according to Verizon, who are promising an over-the-air (OTA) firmware update that will prevent the cyclical "bad autofocus" issue from reoccurring. The new software will also improve voice call quality, something the DROID didn't have too much difficulty with in the first place.
Motorola's MILESTONE is yet to show up at any of the usual carrier subjects in the UK, but at least one UK supplier appears to be promising a launch date. The Euro-spec version of the Android 2.0 powered Motorola DROID (currently doing duty in CDMA form on Verizon in the US) will, according to SuperETrader, land on UK shores come December 7th.
While much of the Verizon DROID by Motorola impressed us, one less than satisfying aspect of the Android 2.0 smartphone is its camera. Despite boasting 5.0-megapixel optics, the DROID's autofocus was sluggish and the final shots mediocre. Now, an ostensibly simple fix is promising to address the issue, and you don't even need to whip out the screwdrivers: in fact, all that's required is a soft cloth to give the DROID's lens a proper clean.
Updated: There's now talk that the camera issues were addressed with a "silent" over-the-air (OTA) firmware update. That's not been confirmed by Verizon or Motorola as yet.
Update 2: The bizarreness continues; according to Google Android team member Dan Morill the autofocus issue is date-related, with the DROID cycling between 24.5 day periods of "good" autofocus and 24.5 day periods of "bad". Since today marked the beginning of a "good" cycle, the DROID's camera will behave for almost a month, and Dan is promising a fix will be available before things go murky and fuzzy again.
While the US goes DROID crazy after Friday's launch of the Android 2.0 smartphone, O2 Germany are not far behind when it comes to the GSM version. The Motorola MILESTONE - as the DROID will be known outside the US - was spotted on the carrier's site last week and officially announced on Monday; it's now being listed on the O2 Germany site, priced at €549.99 ($816).