Dark Android Round-Up: Gello, the Cat S60 Thermal Smartphone, and a Massive Battery Coming to the Galaxy Line
It’s another round-up of news here at the Dark Android Project, much of it being updates to what is the fruition of things we’ve talked about before…but one of these is a stunning and delightful surprise…
GELLO, THE CYANOGENMOD BROWSER
Remember Gello, that neat Android browser based on Chromium code that was teased by the CyanogenMod developer team a little less than a year ago? It looks like the app is finally finished, or at least ready to make a version 1.0 debut. Joey Rizzoli, the CM developer who teased Gello last July, says that it’s ready to go and that managers can begin to incorporate Gello into nightly builds. The browser will be added by the individuals or teams of developers responsible for upkeep on each CyanogenMod device build, so Gello may or may not be immediately on your device’s nightly release.
Though it’s based on the same open source code as Chrome, Gello includes a ton of mobile-focused features introduced by the CM team (and a good bit of which are inspired by competing browsers). Some of the highlights include a “save for offline” function, a desktop-style custom save dialog, easy bookmarks on the homescreen, multiple search engines, power-saving and night reading modes, a built-in ad blocker, and an “immersive” fullscreen option. Below is a video overview of the various features, but be aware that it’s a year old – some of them may look a bit different in the final version.
Gello isn’t available for general Android devices – it requires CyanogenMod 13 (based on Android 6.0) to function. But users too impatient to wait for the nightly device builds to catch up can compile it themselves or download a pre-built version from the CyanogenMod Jenkins server.
And the real beauty here is that there’s a very good chance that Gello is going to be an awesome browser…and you can’t use it unless you have CyanogenMod installed. I doubt that anyone is going to convert over to CM just to use Gello, but I do like the shaft being given to the Google Play Store for once (as much as I prefer things be platform agnostic). Also, I’ll assume there is some pretty heavy demand for this browser, otherwise they would have never developed it (especially in a largely volunteer development community), and it just goes to show that people do see the value in getting away from Google’s products, and it also highlights the CEO of Cyanogen, Inc.’s statement that: “We’re going to take Android away from Google”.
THE CAT S60 THERMAL CAMERA PHONE
I mentioned this back in February of 2016, and honestly I wasn’t sure if it would actually come to fruition, but it turns out that the CAT S60 tough-as-nails smartphone (with not so terrible specs) and a unique FLIR One thermal camera (you know, so you can see like the Predator) is actually going to get released, and pre-orders start in June. We also now know the price of it: $599. Also they will be releasing a FLIR One thermal camera dongle that you can purchase on its own for $249 that can be connected to the smartphone you likely have already. I’m still baffled as to why this is a thing, especially available to consumers and not just B2B, but hey, bring it. To sweeten the deal, CAT will also be releasing an SDK so that developers can figure out what I can’t…and that’s what to do with this thing.
You can read more about it and my thoughts on it here in my previous write-up.
THE GALAXY S7 IS REAL…WITH A MASSIVE BATTERY
Just last month I had written about rumors that a Galaxy S7 “Active” smartphone would be hitting the streets soon. I’m a fan of the Active line of Galaxy devices because usually they come without all of the bullshit that Scamsung (spelled intentionally) pushes on consumers (ie: fingerprint readers, etc.). Also, the Active line falls under a prospect that I enjoy at least with Android phones, it’s what I call “toughphones” (and the previously mentioned CAT S60 would qualify as one, too). Devices that are practically indestructible, waterproof, with no bullshit, and built to last.
By now it’s foregone conclusion that AT&T is about to release the ruggedized Galaxy S7 Active. It’s done it for the last few Galaxy flagships–exclusively (though you can check eBay or Amazon for them, too) and the aforementioned leaks already happened. But now, Venture Beat has more detailed specs for the device, and most of it isn’t a surprise. It’s a GS7 with a different chassis and a bigger battery. The size of that battery is the real winner here, though–it’s apparently 4,000mAh. The Active line–meant for the outdoors–generally always comes with a larger battery than its siblings, which is one of the things I like about them, but to have a 4,000mAh is fantastic. Sign me up.
Beyond that, we’re looking at a Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, a 5.1-inch 1440p Super AMOLED, and 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot. That 4,000mAh battery will be 400mAh larger than the one in the GS7 Edge and 1,000 larger than the regular GS7. It’s also only 15g heavier than the regular GS7 (185g vs. 170g). It’ll be 9.9mm thick, compared to 7.9 for the non-Active phone.
With the likelihood of CyanogenMod ROMs getting made for this, the S7 Active could be the phone to beat, in my opinion. Those are some serious specs, and that battery could power them for a while.
AT&T has yet to acknowledge the phone’s existence, but a release date of June 10th is expected (the date on the phone screens). Again, these look pretty good. I’d take an unlocked one if I could find one. Damn.