Jan, 25 2010

A couple days ago, BGR posted a screenshot from an anonymous tipster from a device that claimed to be the HTC Supersonic running Android 3.0 for T-Mobile. They were so enthused by the story they watermarked the screenshot as seen below:

HTCSupersonic

It was fake. We got a screenshot of from our own “anonymous tipster” from a device called the HTC Phandroid running Android 3.1:

htc-phandroid

This is also fake and it DIDN’T come from an anonymous tipster – it came from Android Developer Evan Charlton who whipped up the screen shot at my request. It took him about 17 seconds to produce and only slightly longer to explain how:

there’s a text file on the phone (/system/build.prop) which contains information about your build
ro.product.model=HTC Phandroid
ro.build.version.release=3.1
edit it, reboot the phone
done

I think these types of “About Phone” screenshots should be categorically ruled out as reliable tips. Tech sites get tons of “tips” every day and sometimes it’s hard to separate the real from the fake, but this type of evidence is just too easy to fake and duplicate. We’ll forgive BGR this time… not only because he gave us a stream of deliciously accurate Droid leaks a few months ago but also because we know he still has a lot to learn about Android.

If you still believe that HTC is releasing a “Phandroid Phone” with Android 3.1 there is one other thing you should know: right afterwards Motorola is launching the Motorola COASTER special edition sponsored by Six Flags running on Android 6.WOAH. Screenshots coming soon.

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: I’m not suggesting the HTC Supersonic doesn’t exist… or even that Google isn’t currently working on Android 3.0. My point is that this method of proof is severely flawed and too easy to duplicate to take seriously.