Distro Issue 61 Acer aims high with its Iconia W510 Windows 8 hybrid

With the release of Windows 8 just around the corner, the arrivals of tablets and hybrids that are decked out with the aforementioned OS are also imminent. Sure, we've already seen a number of these, but up until now, we've yet to spend any quality time with the announced hardware. In this week's edition of our tablet magazine, though, we finally get to take one back to Engadget HQ for a detailed preview. We offer our thoughts on Acer's Iconia W510 -- a laptop / tablet hybrid that sets its sights on the premium end of the Windows 8 gadget spectrum. On the regular review front, we put the Canon EOS M and the Samsung Galaxy Note II through their paces before serving up in-depth analysis of each. Eyes-On climbs aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Visualized gets electrified and Nest's Matt Rogers tells all in the Q&A. The weekend won't last forever, so jump down below to snag the latest issue before settling in for a little weekend R&R.

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Well, it's finally here. Sort of. It's been a long and winding road for BlackBerry 10, and as has been RIM's way, the company continues to out new BB10 details just a bit at a time. As you may recall, we got a good look at RIM's original Dev Alpha hardware back in May, and were able to swipe our way through a good bit of BB10 a month later. It's BlackBerry Jam time now, though, and RIM gave us a more thorough look at the OS than ever before, and we got to see it running on a new Dev Alpha B handset. We couldn't pry loose any details about the hardware inside the new dev phone (other than it's got a BB10-standard 1280x768 screen), but we did get a few fresh facts about the software running on it. Once again, RIM reminded us that the software we saw was not the final version, but that shouldn't deter you from reading on past the break and seeing a video of BB10 in action.

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CM10 nightly builds now rolling out to select devicesLike Jelly Beans, custom Android ROMs tend to have different flavors -- and CyanogenMod happens to be a fan favorite. Good thing then, that the CM10 team is now serving nightly builds of its Jelly Bean-based custom ROM update. According to the CyanogenMod Google+ page, CM10 nightlies are now available for the US Samsung Galaxy S III variants, the original Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II (i9100g), the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus S and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (P3), Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (P5), Nexus 7, Transformer and Transformer Prime tablets. The list will fill out with more devices when they are ready, the team says, and will continue to have CM9 updates (now weekly, rather then nightly) at their disposal.

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CM10 preview builds out for Nexus 7 and Galaxy Note: official but highly experimentalReady for the latest bout of XDA Recognized goodness? If you own a Nexus 7 or global Galaxy Note (oh yeah) then you'll find official preview builds of CyanogenMod 10 for each device at the source links below. They'll bring some added sparkle, like an almost-buttery version of Jelly Bean on the Note and USB storage on the Nexus 7, but neither build is ready for daily dependence -- so tread carefully or just consider them proof that the CM and Team Hacksung folks are almost there.

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Nokia hints at June 18th news, may be PureView related instead of Microsoft

Amidst the upheaval in Espoo Nokia continues to push forward, and tonight its Facebook page has already posted a couple of teaser images, including the one seen above, suggesting there's big news due on June 18th. Astute observers will note that's also the day its good buddy Microsoft has already planned its own high profile and highly secretive event, although you may not want to connect the two just yet. One of the images is a map of Hawaii, which AllThingsD notes is home to area code 808, a possible reference to Nokia's PureView 808 41MP cameraphone technology, which was followed up by the above image, with tempo cranked all the way up (ready to go boom...like an 808?). Draw your own conclusions -- of course we'll be hanging around Monday to see what happens.

Update: If the Roland TR-808 image wasn't explicit enough, Nokia US has dropped another hint on its Facebook page, featuring what appears to be artwork cropped from the 808 State album ex:el.

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Samsung Galaxy S III preview: hands-on with the next Android superphone

You remember that Galaxy S II? A phone so good they launched it, well, a whole load of times. But after seeing phablet cousins and LTE variants, the true handset sequel is finally here. The Galaxy S III is moments away from being outed in front of journalists and Sammy's business partners in London, but in advance of the big reveal we were given a few hours to acquaint ourselves with the new star away from the crush of the show floor.

And what did we make of it? In short, Samsung's tried to bring its Galaxy S series in line with (and in some ways, further ahead of) what its team-up with Google accomplished. It's added some new quad-core Exynos processing juice, a 4.8-inch, HD Super AMOLED screen and a handful of Galaxy S III-only features in an earnest bid to maintain its place at the top of the Android pile. You'll find our detailed impressions and a hands-on video just after the break.

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It's been a long time in the making, but the once-mythical cloud storage service known to all as Google Drive is real, and it made its official debut today -- and even though Goog's taken plenty of time to make it available to the masses, our impatience certainly got the worst of us, and we immediately started digging through the new service. So what does this online storage option entail? Will it make you delete your Dropbox and SkyDrive accounts and jump for joy? Or has Google simply waited too long to start playing the game? Read on to find out our first impressions.

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New Spotify for Android preview (hands-on)

In case you hadn't heard, Spotify's finally given its Android app the update love it deserves. It's looking for feedback in the form of an app preview, available to download now -- if you're willing to install from "unknown sources". The update is a top-to-bottom refresh, bringing the sort of functions (lockscreen player?) we've been patiently waiting for, all wrapped up in Android's Holo theme. How does it all fare? Step beyond the break to see.

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An HTC Evo 4G LTE with dual cameras could only mean one thing, right? It's unclear whether the 3D rig in the company's intro video is simply a design mock-up, or a functional prototype of a model to come, but there's definitely something of the sort floating around HTC's labs. The device in question looks identical to the Evo we saw at yesterday's Sprint launch event -- kickstand and all -- save for that unique dual-lens design. And if such a smartphone did come to fruition, what could we expect for a name? Sprint HTC EVO 4G 3D LTE? We sure hope not. We've reached out to HTC to get a better idea of what we're looking at, but for now, this clip will have to do. You'll find the video in its entirety just past the break, but you'll want to skip to the 25 second mark for the 3D proto.

Update: Well, we just heard back from HTC and the company confirmed that it's not a prototype of any future device. Apparently, it's just an early design when HTC and Sprint were considering carrying over the 3D feature, but it didn't make the cut. Mystery solved!

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What was the exciting new collaboration that HTC and Sprint's bigwigs just couldn't wait to tell us about? Anyone who's been following the smartphone scene at all as of late surely won't be surprised to find out that the one-time Nextel bedfellow is getting a member of the One family to call its own. It's just the precise name of the device that wasn't too predictable.

When the handset goes on sale sometime in Q2 for $199 it'll be saddled with the decidedly unwieldy moniker HTC EVO 4G LTE -- a rather clunky title for such a svelte device. What the name does offer, however, is a direct connection to the original EVO 4G. That phone, which arrived in consumer hands way back in June 2010, was branded as Sprint's first "4G" handset, courtesy of the carrier's WiMAX network. It's understandable, then, that its spiritual successor would carry that redundant 4G LTE moniker. The companies also clearly wanted to retain some of those happy memories, while setting the phone apart from those other One handsets on the market. How'd they do such a thing? Meet us after the break where we lay it all out.

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HTC Sense 4.0 review

Over the last year, HTC has established a reputation for fragmenting its proprietary Sense UI even within the same version of Android. Why, Gingerbread alone is the foundation for at least three different iterations (2.1, 3.0 and 3.5) of the firmware. The bump to Ice Cream Sandwich is no different, with legacy devices getting an update to Sense 3.6 and the One series (and presumably any future devices) benefiting from version 4.0.

When we previewed Sense 3.6, we were disappointed at its similarity to previous versions and the sloppiness of its integration with key features in ICS. Even though it marked an improvement in functionality and performance, it seemed as if the OS and customized UI were at war with each other.

Sense 4 is a different story. It's lighter, cleaner and much more visually appealing than older versions of the user interface, and it has the full suite of ICS goodies to go along with it. HTC also throws in its own imaging technology, dubbed ImageSense, to offer some cool new enhancements to the camera. Ultimately, HTC has successfully tweaked Sense's design in a way that keeps the spirit of stock Android 4.0 alive, while still offering something familiar to loyal HTC fans. The tour is about to begin, so park yourself in your favorite chair and join us.

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It's been nearly four months since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus arrived, bearing the latest version of Google's mobile OS, known to most of us as Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich. In this span of time, only a handful of smartphones and tablets have been blessed with an upgrade to this iteration. Why? One word: differentiation. The majority of mobile manufacturers are determined to come up with their own brands and tweak the open-source OS to their whimsy as a means of standing out from the rest of the crowd. But doing so involves several months of designing, programming and testing -- for each individual device. Sadly, this means we're left waiting impatiently for most outfits to come out with their own customized skin.



Since the latest iteration of Android meant a considerable adjustment to the OS' design -- as well as an endless list of new features, bug fixes and other improvements -- the lengthy wait has left us only able to speculate and theorize what types of adjustments HTC will make to its own adaptation of Android's user interface, nicknamed Sense. What's more, it was recently revealed that there would actually be not one but two versions of the UI running on ICS: Sense 4.0, the skin of choice for the One lineup, and 3.6, the option for whichever legacy HTC devices are lucky enough to be on the upgrade list. Even though both run Android 4.0, the two builds look drastically different. We only had a very limited amount of time to spend with the former at MWC, but we were given the opportunity to experience the latter on a Sensation XE. Now we can finally have our questions answered at long last: how will HTC integrate ICS into its Sense UI? How different will it look and feel? What features will the company dish up or throw in the trash? Uncover the mysteries with us as we offer an extensive preview of Sense 3.6 after the break.

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Samsung, expected to make a quiet showing at this year's Mobile World Congress due to the fact that it doesn't have a press conference scheduled today or tomorrow, is actually projecting to offer a bit more buzz than the Ace 2 or Mini 2. How? With a projector phone, of course! Sammy's latest phone announced for the show is the Galaxy Beam, a refreshed version of the projector phone, with a bit fancier specs. The device is packing a 4-inch WVGA display, dual-core ST-Ericsson U8500 Cortex A9 CPU, 768MB of RAM and a 2,000mAh battery. Of course, those aren't the important specs to consider here -- the projector is. Taking advantage of a nHD (640 x 360) resolution and 15 Lumen brightness, the 12.5mm thickness helps Samsung claim the title of "world's thinnest projector phone."

All in all, the phone felt very comfortable to hold, and the lump that incorporates the projector isn't an eyesore in the slightest -- in fact, Samsung managed to add it in a rather stylish manner. Our only concern? The projector itself is found on the very top of the device without any recession, which will likely make it a candidate for being a fingerprint magnet. We also liked the dedicated power button for the projector on the top right of the phone, just above the normal phone switch.

We're also expecting to see some docks become available for the phone (which itself should be available in select markets in Q2) that will help stabilize it and keep it from shaking, as well as amplify sound for watching movies or video presentations. We'll add in more pics and videos as they come.

Myriam Joire contributed to this report.

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Mobile World Congress 2012 Preview
Without hesitation, February always seems to be the most hectic time of the year for the mobile industry, thanks primarily to the annual Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain. The show has long been considered the proper venue for phone and tablet vendors to show off their latest and greatest innovations. Naturally, the internet is been set ablaze with plenty of rumors and even a few official product announcements from companies hoping to benefit from some solid pre-show buzz.

In this guide we'll take you on a tour and walk through the hardware we already know will be shown off at MWC, as well as what we should likely expect to see and the things we'd really love to hear more about but probably won't. Join us after the break, won't you?

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We've landed in Vegas, just in time to enjoy the proverbial calm before the storm that will be the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Motorized carts zoom around the parking lot as the Las Vegas Convention Center begins to take shape -- as always, getting the million-dollar-booths fully dressed before the curtain comes up next week seems an impossible task, but the crews will come through, making the finished product a far-cry from what we see today. And as exciting as it can be to roam the halls of the LVCC and surrounding venues during the show, the pageantry of CES is really about the products, including many of which we haven't heard so much as a peep about in the weeks leading up to the show. But as the booths inside will remain veiled until company heads have a chance to brief attendees, a few hints have begun popping up outside the convention center, as workers hang sponsored banners above and along the massive entranceways. Some of these product hints serve to confirm previous rumors, so join us past the break for an early look at what's to come.

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