If you want to transcode video for a smartphone or tablet, there are few better tools – paid or free – than Handbrake. This open source application, which runs on both Mac OS and Windows, makes converting video for mobile device viewing as easy as a few mouse clicks. The main downside is that it is so infrequently updated (it’s been more than year since the last version was released).
But the folks behind Handbrake have finally updated the application, which is now at version 0.9.6. There are a slew of changes and improvements, but the primary benefit we’ve seen is that the new version transcodes videos considerably faster than before. There are now two Android presets: Android Mid (phones) and Android High (tablets). iPhone and iPad presets remain, of course, along with an improved “Normal” preset which churns out excellent general use MP4 video files. On the downside, HandBrake 0.9.6 breaks VLC-powered DVD ripping since VLC 2.0 no longer supports this. Also gone is the file size option which users could employ to generate video files that were a specific size.
On Windows, make sure you download the bit version that matches your OS installation (32-bit or 64-bit); Windows XP, Vista and 7 are supported. On the Mac side, HandBrake now requires Mac OS 10.6 or above and is only available in 64-bit.
If an Israeli Facebook post is correct, Galaxy S II users around the world could begin receiving Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS updates in less than two weeks.
An Israeli Samsung Mobile Facebook post, which no longer appears to be live, reportedly included a section which read (translated to English):
On March 15th: Android version 4, ICS, for tens of thousands of the Galaxy S2 owners that purchased it from a cellular company in Israel or directly from [Samsung].
Of course, even if the ICS update begins going out for Israeli phones on March 15, that doesn’t mean U.S. users can expect the same. What it would mean, though, is that Android 4 for the international GSII model is ready and updates may come to U.S. versions of the Galaxy S II sooner rather than later.
Many Android phones released since late 2011 are slated to get ICS updates, but the going has been painfully slow, with some handsets not expected to get Android 4 until late this year.
If you have a Motorola Android smartphone and are looking forward to upgrading to Android 4.0, you now have an official release schedule to peruse. Unfortunately, most of the confirmed handset updates are scheduled for Q3 of 2012, which means you’ll be waiting at least seven months for Ice Cream Sandwich unless things go more smoothly than anticipated.
In addition, many popular handsets, including new releases like the Droid 4 and RAZR Maxx, are “in evaluation,” which means, well… guess that sounded better than maybe someday…
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The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is currently the only Android 4 smartphone on the market in the United States, and others are soon to follow, but that’s not the end of the story. Other late-gen Android devices including tablets and even hybrid notebooks will be getting upgrades to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), presumably in the next few months. Here’s what we know so far.
Samsung: The Korean company has confirmed that it will upgrade some of its 2011 Galaxy devices to Ice Cream Sandwich, the code-name for Android 4.0. “ICS-upgradable devices are the GALAXY S II, GALAXY S II LTE, GALAXY Note, GALAXY R, GALAXY Tab 10.1, GALAXY Tab 8.9, GALAXY Tab 7.7, and GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus.” No timeframe was given other than that plans included some ICS releases in Q1 2012 with others to follow later in the year.
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The first major update for the Windows Phone 7 OS, known as Mango, has just been approved for RTM. RTM stands for Release to Manufacturing, which means the base of the upcoming version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system is now complete.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing a Mango update for your Windows Phone any time soon; handset manufacturers like HTC and Samsung, along with carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in the United States, will now have to tailor the base OS for specific Windows Phone handsets, which can take some time to complete. Also, carriers have an annoying amount of say-so when it comes to WP7 update releases, which could lead to further delays.
We have no timeframe for Mango’s release other than “this fall,” which could technically come as late as mid-December. But it’s more likely that updates to Mango will come in October or November, though Microsoft is no stranger to product delays.
Windows Phone 7 “Mango” will include Internet Explorer 9 with HTML5 support, threaded email, text and IM, third-party app multitasking and more. If you’re curious about Mango, head to Engadget for a detailed preview they posted in June.