jueves, 27 de septiembre de 2012

Google Play gaining on iTunes App Store in race for most apps available

The war between Apple and Android wages on, and now the battlefield is the online app market. Google Play, the marketplace for Android devices, has always trailed the App Store in number of offerings, even though it launched just three months after the Apple resource. The App Store has 700,000 products up for sale, according to Apple's iPhone 5 presentation on September 12. But Google Play is nearing that total with 675,000 apps available. The platform also passed 25 billion downloads yesterday and held a major sale in honor of the milestone, with several top apps still available for just 25 cents.

While the number of available apps for each operating system is drawing even, there are still major differences in how each store works. Apple requires an approval process before an app can go up for sale on iTunes, but Google Play has no such vetting procedure. There's an up and a down side to that. It means that Apple went without any spam appearing on its store for five years, and the first malware app popped up on the system just this summer. So although there have been complaints that Apple is inconsistent and overly conservative in the content it approves, you're all but guaranteed a safe app when using Apple.

Google Play has a lot more opportunity for developers, but does require a little more effort for shoppers. If you own an Android device, you'll want to research an app's safety and usability before buying. We have a comprehensive guide that can help you track down great Android apps that will best fit your needs.

[Image credit: LAI Ryanne]

This article was written by Anna Washenko and originally appeared on Tecca

lunes, 28 de mayo de 2012

Motorola Videos Show Android 4.0 on Droid RAZR

Mobile phone maker Motorola's update of the Droid RAZR to the Android 4.0 operating system appears to be on the way.

New official videos posted on the company's Japanese website show the OS running on the handset. Spotted by Droid Life, several videos -- some in Japanese --show off new features in Motorola's custom version of Ice Cream Sandwich.

For instance, shortcuts for text messaging and the phone dialer have been added to the lock screen, so instead of unlocking the phone and then looking around for one of those functions, they're right there; on stock ICS only the camera and unlock are available in this way.

You'll also appreciate the way ICS lets you access your music controls directly from the lock screen when music is playing.

And if you've ever wanted to capture what you're looking at on your phone's screen, ICS makes it simple. Taking a screen shot is only a matter of pressing the down volume and power buttons simultaneously for a few seconds. The phone shows you a quick version of the image it snapped, then saves it to your gallery where you can store it or share with others.

The video lineup also includes one that shows off how Webtop 3.0 works. It's an application that allows you to hook the phone up to an HDTV or monitor with an HDMI cable. Once the phone detects it's connected to an external display it launches the Webtop app which lets you see all your apps on the bigger screen and access a full version of the Firefox browser.

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sábado, 19 de mayo de 2012

Microsoft patents tech to bring Android apps to Windows Phone

A patent filed by Microsoft in 2010 could help the software company’s flagging mobile platform bridge the app gap between it and Android by helping users find Windows alternatives to the Android apps they already enjoy.

According to a story from GigaOM, Microsoft’s patent is for a technology that would actually have two capabilities. The first would be to analyze another device, like an Android smartphone, and find out which apps it already has on it. Then, Microsoft’s tech would search through the Windows Phone app store, find the apps’ Windows equivalent, and make them available to purchase. It seems likely that in places where the app didn’t have a direct, official Windows version, Microsoft would probably suggest a well-reviewed third-party alternative.

So one part of the service would be like an app search engine, allowing Android users to find Windows alternatives, should they want them. But the patent also suggests that it would be able to transfer Android apps and their data from the original device to a Windows device. If that’s possible, it could be something of a game-changer.

Right now, Android enjoys a very comfortable lead over Windows Phone, as does Apple’s iOS, because Microsoft is having a tough time expanding its app offerings for its platform. In the very simplest terms, Android has just thousands of apps more than Windows does. It’s an easy selling point for Android and a large part of what keeps Windows Phone holding down a percentage of the smartphone market that’s in the single digits, while Android entertains a huge portion of smartphones around the world and in the U.S.

But if Microsoft can bring apps from Android devices to its own, that would significantly change the conversation about which platform is better. It wouldn’t be the first platform to be able to do that, either. BlackBerry maker RIM’s PlayBook tablet was capable of supporting Android apps with an emulated version of Google’s operating system.

Of course, that’s a big “if.” Android, like iOS, doesn’t allow apps to access the data of other apps, and neither allows its apps on other operating systems. But if Microsoft finds a way around those restrictions, perhaps with an emulated version of Google’s open-source OS, it might still be able to support Android apps, even if it can’t actually transfer your app data from one device to the other. But that possibility might help to make Android’s lead over Windows Phone a little less comfortable.

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lunes, 2 de abril de 2012

Android Browsers: The Best Of 2012 So Far

There are a lot of Android browsers making their way into your devices. Each has its own unique abilities with some promising a great experience while others providing the sheer simplicity to get a job done. So which are the best Android browsers of the year so far?

Google Chrome Beta: Chrome from Google is frankly one of the best web browsers around currently. Only recently it became the world’s most used browser and Google, in the last few months, released and updated the beta version of the browser for devices running on Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Android version of Chrome is one of the smoothest browsers with a great speed and displaying only that which is absolutely required. However, Chrome doesn’t have Flash integration and hence regardless of the fact that your device is Flash enabled or not, nothing will adapt to Chrome. Some sites often send a link to a mobile version of a website sometimes, but Chrome lacks in a toggle to request desktop sites.

Nonetheless, Chrome makes amends by its clean and minimalistic approach and appearance and a great tab management that can be compared to its desktop compatriot.

Firefox: Firefox is currently catching up with the other browsers in the market. Although the desktop version of the browser is pretty cool to work with, the Android version still needs some work to do. Although it can be slow at times to render certain pages which make everything sluggish later, it does provide a synchronized integration and keeps the history and tabs available on all the devices.

Firefox for Android also provides a unique method of hiding and showing the active tabs. You can reveal them by dragging them from the left hand side of the screen, and you can also continue browsing as normal. Later, by either tapping the ‘X’ or pulling your finger to the right hides them again. This is pretty innovative on its part.

Read complete at ibtimes.com

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jueves, 29 de marzo de 2012

iPhone closes in on Android in growing U.S. smartphone market

As of February, smartphone users accounted for nearly half of all wireless subscribers in the U.S., and Apple's iPhone adoption rate saw growth while Android handset activations slipped.

According to new data from Nielsen published on Thursday, sales of Apple's iPhone accounted for 43 percent of all new smartphone purchases over the past three months, a 6 percent increase from the period ending in December, while Android's share fell nearly 4 percent to cover 48 percent of activations.

Riding on strong iPhone 4S sales, Apple's iOS is slowly closing the gap with Google's Android OS and now accounts for 32 percent of all smartphones. The iPhone isn't eating into Android's market, however, and is instead picking up deserters from RIM's sinking BlackBerry platform. 

Android remained top dog and took 48 percent of the smartphone market, while RIM accounted for a 12 percent share. Other devices like Windows Phone and Symbian filled out the list with an 8 percent stake.

The smartphone market as a whole took 49.7 percent of all mobile subscribers, a 38 percent increase form the same time last year when feature phones dominated the landscape.

During the three months ending in February, more than two-thirds of those who purchased a new mobile device opted for a smartphone.

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sábado, 24 de marzo de 2012

Linux and Android Kernel Finally Merged

Until recently, Android and Linux have been two open source projects which have been known for their distinct identities despite being closely linked with each other. The version 3.3 of the Linux kernel was announced by the leader of the Linux kernel project, Linus Torvalds which will help create an operating system core that will now bridge the gap which has been isolating the two projects so far.

Essentially, almost every Android phone can be considered as a Linux phone though most developers for Android use an interface resembling Java which is a customized version of Linux developed by Google aimed at handling details such as keeping the required data in the memory ready to be used, multitasking among the different chores and keyboard input.

A consequence of integrating Torvalds’ version of the Linux kernel with Google’s Android version will result in easier programming for developers. This will also mean that Google will have to face fewer hassles in trying to make sure that the mainline kernel and their own code are in sync. Even users of mobile devices powered by Linux can now benefit from these changes as they as the two platforms will have much greater interoperability.

Often, Google uses code which has been already developed in other open source projects while giving its own improvements or changes to the code and releasing its own open source work. Google however isolates itself from the primary developers and their project during the course of developing its own project and this can at times lead to tensions between the involved parties as open source relies on code sharing and collaborative ethos. The Android mainlining project was initially announced in December by a Sony programmer, Tim Bird. The merger of the two had been underway for months now as a result and despite Torvalds not having made any specific mention of the Android merge during the release of Linux 3.3, the merger is now official.

A longtime kernel developer and new Linux Foundation fellow, Greg Kraoh-Hartman said that the Android components on the Google+ and Linux 3.3 are expected to be the same. He said that the 3.3 version might not have very good power management but expects it to be corrected in the next release, kernel 3.4.

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lunes, 19 de marzo de 2012

Deep Dive Into Ad Network Behavior on Android

Ever wonder where tech reporters get all their fancy data? For instance, how do we know that 52% of mobile app sessions were for games in the first couple of months or 2012 or that the use of native apps versus the mobile Web is tied? The truth is that a lot of the interesting stats in the mobile ecosystem are provided by marketers and advertisers. Those networks know how consumers are using their devices to a degree of granularity that at times is creepy. How do they know what users are doing?

A new research report tells us how ad networks implement in-app libraries to deliver advertising to consumers and help developers get paid. For the most part, the largest networks are benign but consumers have learned to never trust an advertiser. In-app libraries can often function like the app that hosts them but can have access to far more information that the user ever intended.

NC State Dives Deep Into Android Advertising
For the consumer, the fundamental difference between users downloading Android apps and iOS apps is that Android is designed to let the user know all of the explicit permissions that an app can use on the device. For instance, a popular app like Rdio will have access to system tools, read the ready phone state and have network for communications access. Permissions allow for developers to be upfront with the consumer about what they are doing and how they are doing it and allow security checks to be made by third parties.

More so than iOS, Android developers rely on advertising networks to make money. Developers connect to ad networks through SDKs and APIs within an app creating sub-level to an app that the developers do not necessarily control. Think of it on two levels: there are the permissions that the app can use that are explicit to the end user. Those same permissions can be used by ad networks and are not explicit to the user. This can lead to privacy issues as user information that the user never intended to share ends up on ad networks' servers.
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LogMeIn to Provide Android Mobile Support for HTC

LogMeIn, Inc. has entered into an agreement as HTC's preferred mobile remote support software provider. HTC will employ LogMeIn Rescue--LogMeIn's flagship remote support and customer care offering--across its worldwide call centers, delivering state-of-the-art remote support to HTC customers.

Future HTC devices that run on the growing Android OS will feature LogMeIn Rescue, giving HTC customer care and support staff the ability to remotely configure, diagnose and troubleshoot a technical issue wherever the customer has a data connection. The LogMeIn capability will offer HTC customers with advanced over-the-air mobile support at a moment's notice, virtually anywhere in the world.

"HTC is committed to providing the best and most personal customer experience in the mobile industry, from designing great products to delivering superior after-sales service and support," said Simon Harper, VP of global customer experience at HTC. "We believe LogMeIn's technology, team and vision are a great match for HTC and for our customers and will allow us to continue to create great experiences for our customers."

HTC will pre-deploy a user-enabled LogMeIn Rescue applet on future HTC Android devices, with the mobile operator's consent. The pre-deployed applet gives customers the ability to securely connect their devices to HTC customer care representatives during active support calls. Once connected, HTC technicians can run remote diagnostics, push common device and network configuration settings, and remotely control the customer's device to resolve issues.

"We believe that a focus on the overall customer experience helps to define the most respected brands in mobile," said Lee Weiner, LogMeIn's VP of Customer Care products. "For market leaders like HTC, customer care initiatives can provide key opportunities for differentiation in an increasingly crowded marketplace. By working hand-in-hand with one of the world's most respected manufacturers, we believe we have a great opportunity to create a new standard for mobile customer care."

LogMeIn Rescue gives helpdesks and support staff the ability to remotely configure, diagnose and troubleshoot tablets (iOS, Android), smartphones (Android, iPhone, Symbian, BlackBerry) as well as PCs and Macs. A web-based offering, Rescue combines remote control with device configuration, live chat and diagnostics capabilities, enabling customer service teams to fix common issues on any device with a web or mobile connection, as if the device were in their hands.

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domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Android: Can an app improve social skills?

Undergraduate students at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science at University of California, Irvine, have built an Android app to help students through social awkwardness.

The app is called AwkTalk developed by students for AppJam, a competition to build the best mobile app in one week. The theme for the competition was self improvement and the team "Socially Awkward Anteaters" won the $1,000 first prize in the competition with the app.

"We were all aware that many of our colleagues in the fields of computer science and engineering (ourselves included) lack excellent socials skills," the overview of the project says.

The app helps students find a place to meet face to face where they'll participate in a timed discussion and then rate the other person's social skills. Find more information about the app on the team's website: http://appjam.roboteater.com/team10.php.

Source: CSMonitor.com

viernes, 16 de marzo de 2012

Android gaming needs software more than hardware

You may have noticed our awesome giveaway that starts today: two ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablets, with an extra two chances to win courtesy of SlashGear. The promotion is made possible by NVIDIA, and we thank them kindly. NVIDIA’s probably done more than any other single company (with the possible exception of Google itself) to advance gaming on Android. But here’s the thing: awesome hardware isn’t enough. As great as the Tegra 3 and other next-gen platforms are for gaming, the games themselves have to be the focus if Android is going to be a major contender in the mobile gaming space.

I don’t mean to knock Android game developers – they do a great job and have a variety of awesome titles available. But here’s the thing: for the most part, consumers will buy an Android phone or tablet, then seek out games. That’s the opposite of what happens on iOS, where Angry Birds and Infinity Blade sell more phones and tablets than Siri does. Games make up a whopping 25% of app downloads in the Google Play Store, but Apple still has an undeniable advantage. This is an extremely general statement of course, but the gist is that people seek out games on iOS, while people settle for games on Android.

A perfect example is Mass Effect 3. BioWare’s epic conclusion to its trilogy is easily one of the biggest releases of the year, so naturally they prepared a mobile strategy to go along with it. This includes a paid mini-game and a companion app – but only on iOS. On Android, we have to settle for a live wallpaper (NVIDIA’s influence again) despite the almost certain fact that more Mass Effect 3 players are carrying Android-powered phones than iPhones. A lot of this can be attributed to Android users’ lack of enthusiasm for paid apps, but all the same, it’s a definite dis to players who want the full experience but have the “wrong” mobile hardware. Publisher EA has developers for Android – just today they released two new sports games in the Google Play Store. Where’s the love?

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jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

FBI Can’t Crack Android Pattern-Screen Lock

Pattern-screen locks on Android phones are secure, apparently so much so that they have stumped the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The bureau claims in federal court documents that forensics experts performed “multiple attempts” to access the contents of a Samsung Exhibit II handset, but failed to unlock the phone.

An Android device requires the handset’s Google e-mail address and its accompanying password to unlock the handset once too many wrong swipes are made. The bureau is seeking that information via a court-approved warrant to Google in order to unlock a suspected San Diego-area prostitution pimp’s mobile phone. (For details on the pimp investigation, check out Ars Technica‘s story on the case.)

Locking down a phone is even more important today than ever because smart phones store so much personal information. What’s more,  many states, including California, grant authorities the right to access a suspect’s mobile phone, without a warrant, upon arrest for any crime.

Forensic experts and companies in the phone-cracking space agreed that the Android passcode locks can defeat unauthorized intrusions.

“It’s not unreasonable they don’t have the capability to bypass that on a live device,” said Dan Rosenberg, a consultant at Boston-based Virtual Security Research.

A San Diego federal judge days ago approved the warrant upon a request by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Cupina. The warrant was disclosed Wednesday by security researcher Christopher Soghoian,

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sábado, 10 de marzo de 2012

Android fragmentation also a challenge for Web developers

Fragmentation remains an issue  for third-party Android application developers. The wide spread and slow rate of adoption for new versions of the operating system prevent developers from being able to use the latest APIs. But native application developers aren't the only ones who are feeling the pain. A prominent Web developer has recently drawn attention to the challenges that Android version fragmentation poses for mobile Web development.

As we explained in some of our recent Android browser coverage, the platform's default Web browser has historically not been very good at handling the most intensive application-like Web experiences. It lacks support for many modern Web standards and has difficulty handling things like animated transitions. Google is finally correcting the problem by bringing a full port of its excellent Chrome Web browser to the Android platform.

Unfortunately, Chrome for Android is only available for Android 4 devices, which represent only about 1.5 percent of the total Android ecosystem. A majority  of Android users are still running version 2.3 and 2.2. The handset manufacturers are often slow to provide updates and in many cases don't update old handsets past a certain point. This means that it will take some time for Android 4.x to become ubiquitous.

Web developers who want to support Android users will have to contend with a range of different browser versions that have different levels of support for modern Web standards. The apparent lack of consistency in browser performance and stability from one device to another makes matters worse. A blog entry  by Dion Almaer, a well-known Web developer who is currently part of Walmart's mobile engineering team, discussed the issue.

As he explained in his blog post, one of his recent Web development projects hit a snag when he found it was crashing the Android browser on some devices but not others. Aside from the version fragmentation issues, it seems that the actual WebKit builds are also simply bad on some devices. When conventional Web content can consistently crash a browser, the situation is bad.

"I shouldn't be able to dump your core. From looking online I was shocked at the number of people complaining about some of these devices. To them, their browser crashes all the darn time," he wrote. "As I went through the myriad of devices to test things, I started to cry as I thought about the amount of effort it would take to get massively broad coverage that doesn't crash some users."

Google and Mozilla have transitioned their desktop browsers to a rapid release model with very short development cycles. Coupled with good automatic update systems, this approach has helped to ensure that users always have access to the latest standards and the best possible performance. By comparison, Android users are lucky to get one major update during the two-year lifespan of their phone.

Google could potentially improve the situation considerably by making it possible for the platform's browser and built-in HTML rendering engine to receive updates independently from the rest of the operating system. Because Chrome for Android is currently being distributed through the Android Market, it seems like there is a very good chance that the company will adopt that approach in the future when Chrome becomes the operating system's default browser.

Modern Web standards provide an incredibly rich feature set and are paving the way for a future where mobile Web experiences are fully competitive with native applications. The lack of consistency between mobile Web browsers, even ones with the same rendering engine, is a roadblock that will have to be overcome in order for the mobile Web to continue advancing.

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domingo, 4 de marzo de 2012

Archos Introduces Child-Friendly Android ICS 7-inch Tablet

Later this month, Archos is releasing a 7-inch Google 4.0 tablet just for kids.

Tired of the kids whining to play this or that on your sleek Android tablet? Now here's your chance to shell out $129 for an Ice Cream Sandwich pacifier called the Child Pad. While the name is a little weird, Archos  seems intent on providing the young'ns with a 7-inch gadget packed with the latest Android OS, a 1 GHz SoC and 1 GB of RAM.

"As a pioneer in the portable audio and Android tablet market we realize the importance of providing a tablet that can offer hours of entertainment for all ages, especially kids," says Henri Crohas, Founder and CEO. "Archos strives to offer great tablets with only the best of features at affordable prices and we expect this tablet to bring a smile to the faces of kids and parents’ everywhere."

Based on the slim list of details, the Child Pad won't be Google sanctioned, as the built-in Kids App Store will be powered by AppsLib instead. The store will be filtered down to 14-friendly categories and 10,000 apps including games, entertainment, communication, multimedia, books, comics, sports and more.

To make the tablet even less appealing to adults, the gadget will feature a kid-friendly user interface with colored icons, and home screen folders with direct access to games, entertainment, learning and puzzles. The tablet will even come packed with the top 28 kids' apps including Angry Birds, Pig Rush and Flight Frenzy.

Archos says that the Child Pad tablet will comply with both CIPA and COPPA regulations, ensuring a safe tablet environment for kids and peace of mind for parents. That said, the device will contain parental controls and safe web browsing provided by Editions Profil , the developer behind Profil Parental Filter.

The Archos Child Pad will be available by the end of March for $129. Check back with the Archos site later on to see a full list of specs.

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miércoles, 29 de febrero de 2012

iPad 3 vs. Android Tablets at Mobile World Congress

After the 2012 Mobile World Congress wraps up in Barcelona, Spain, this week, the mobile world’s attention will turn to San Francisco, where Apple is likely to announce the iPad 3 March 7. While the iPad 3 isn’t really a product yet, at least in theory, it’s clear that the rest of the tablet industry is already trying to scramble out of the way so that their devices don’t get crushed in the onslaught.

Although Apple isn’t even at MWC, it’s still the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room.

This means that tablet manufacturers have been looking desperately for some way to appear to be different from the iPad.

Asus is an excellent example.

Instead of slugging it out with Apple in an ill-conceived struggle that it’ll never win, Asus has come up with the Padfone. This is a tablet with an embedded smartphone. The 4.3-inch phone acts as the tablet’s brains, while the tablet is really just a docking station and display for the phone. Both devices run Android 4.0—or Ice Cream Sandwich—and there’s a Bluetooth accessory that lets you answer the phone while it’s inside the tablet.

But that’s not all that’s happening at Asus. The company has also launched new models of its Transformer Pad, which lets you convert a tablet into a laptop. This is similar to what Hewlett-Packard started doing a decade ago with a series of Microsoft Windows-based tablet computers that in various configurations had either a foldaway keyboard or a removable keyboard that allowed the tablet to operate independently. The biggest difference between then and now is that the new Asus tablets use Android rather than Windows, and it reflects current practice in tablet design.

HP, meanwhile, still makes those tablets, along with a similar Slate Tablet.

Adding to the mix is something called the “super phone,” or “phablet.”

Appearing at first to be a mild-mannered Samsung Galaxy, the illusion vanishes as you approach it. This phone has a 5.3-inch screen, and recognizing its size takes away from its usefulness as a phone, Samsung has decided to call it the Galaxy Note. The big screen lends itself to note taking (thus, the name) and in a back-to-the-future change, the Galaxy Note includes an active stylus, something that other tablet makers, such as HTC, are also starting to use with their smaller tablets.

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domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012

Huawei Expects to Triple Smartphones Sales This Year to 60 Million Units

Huawei Technologies Co., China ’s largest maker of phone equipment, aims to triple the number of smartphones it delivers to 60 million this year as it takes aim at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and new handsets by Nokia Oyj. (NOK1V)

About 30 percent to 40 percent of this year’s shipments will probably go to China, Richard Yu, chairman of the company’s devices unit, said at the Mobile World Congress  in Barcelona. Huawei today unveiled the Ascend D quad handset, calling it “the world’s fastest smartphone.” The device will cost 15 percent to 20 percent less than “comparable phones.”

Huawei, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, forecast in April last year that it plans to boost revenue to $100 billion over five to 10 years. The company, which was founded in 1987, is also adding areas like cloud computing and small-business networks to its traditional network-equipment business, where it competes with companies including Ericsson AB and Nokia Siemens Networks.

“We want to be the top brand in the industry,” Yu said. “Our phone brand isn’t that famous, but our products should be the best ones.”

The Ascend D quad will be sold in all major markets starting next quarter. A version that works on networks based on the the faster long-term evolution technology will be available in the second half of 2012, the company said.

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jueves, 23 de febrero de 2012

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean is Android@Home

This year Google has been tipped to be releasing two separate software environments that very well may be one in the same service when push comes to shove: Android@Home and Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. The data we’ve got suggests that Android@Home will be coming to fruition in one way or another this spring or early summer, while it appears that the rumor mills are continuing to run hot with the idea that Android’s next version, version 5.0 as it may end up being, will be coming out this spring as well. Will the two releases coincide, or are they straight up one in the same? Let’s have a peek at the clues.

The first we heard of the idea that the next version of Android after Ice Cream Sandwich, aka Android 4.0, would be Jelly Bean, it was all the way back in September of 2011 and the news was sparse. So sparse, in fact, that there were no details at all, this leading us to believe that perhaps the whole thing was a guess based on the idea that each big version upgrade of Android has a tasty treat associated with it – Honeycomb, FroYo, and the like, with “J” coming up next with, what else, Jelly Bean.

Next, and much more recently, there was a tip that this so-called upgrade to the next level of Android would again still be called Jelly Bean, would be Android 5.0, and would be released in the second quarter of 2012. Right on top of this tip came word that Android 5.0 Jelly Bean would have a service not unlike what Motorola has had for over a year now: desktop mode. This leads us to believe that there’s something more to this upgrade than just a bunch of bug fixes and some multitasking bumps. Fast forward to today and there’s a slightly less likely reality in the mix with Ubuntu coming to the basic build of Android – more likely is the idea that just a few carriers or manufacturers will try it out for their own desktop mode for docking Android.

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jueves, 19 de enero de 2012

Google’s fourth quarter: 250 million Android devices, 11 billion app downloads

If the reports that Apple was “catching up” with Android yesterday made anyone contemplative (and contemplate that it was a narrow focus on new smartphone buyers), Google’s earnings call today should be enough to put any and all doubts to rest. Amid the regular pomp and circumstance of corporate back-patting, Google CEO Larry Page noted that over 250 million Android devices have been activated worldwide, with more than 11 billion (that’s billion with a B) apps have been downloaded from the Android Market. That’s a heck of a way to start off the new year.

The last time we’d heard either figure was back in 2011: Android passed the 200 million device mark in November,  and Google celebrated 10 billion app downloads in December with a 10-day sale. That’s a growth of 50 million Android phones and tablets, 25% of the former total, in just over two months. Total app downloads have grown by 10% in less than one. Both Android sales and usage are at what creative mathematicians like to call the hockey stick point of the graph, and there’s no indication that it’s slowing down, particularly in worldwide markets.
Google doesn’t discuss direct revenue in relation to Android (though Oracle’s been mighty forthcoming lately) but the company’s total earnings passed 10 billion dollars for the first time ever. The vast majority of the 10.6 billion figure comes from advertising, with $410 million from outside sources. It’s not all rose-colored, though – while Google’s income and profits are both growing, Q4 2011 was the slowest growth all year, mirroring hardships from just about every company in the technology sector.

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miércoles, 18 de enero de 2012

Android 4.0 for Tablets Still Needs Work

GoogleIn (GOOG) October, Google launched Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, for tablets and smartphones. The platform has two purposes: unify the software for use on both devices and make the tablet experience better. Prior to Android 4.0, large Google tablets ran on version 3 of Android, called Honeycomb, but the overall effort seemed rushed and incomplete.

Longtime Android user Jason Perlow has run Android 4.0 on his Motorola (MMI) tablet for the past two weeks. He shared his impressions on Tuesday. Although I don’t currently have Android 4.0 on a tablet here, I’ve used Google’s platform for about as long as Perlow has, and we both use Galaxy Nexus phones that run the Ice Cream Sandwich software. I’m concerned because Perlow is already finding usability issues with an Android 4.0 tablet: “Is it better than Honeycomb? Yes. But it’s not without its own share of problems,” he writes. “It’s going to take some time for apps to catch up to it, and you might want to consider using hardware that is actually up to the task of providing an optimal experience with the new OS.”

Perlow points out some of the same positives I’ve seen when using my new handset: The user interface is more consistent—elegant by comparison to prior versions—and more responsive overall. I see this on my Galaxy Nexus on a daily basis. Even if Perlow hadn’t pointed it out to readers, it’s clear to me that there are still inconsistencies within Android 4.0 on different devices.

Read complete at BusinessWeek.com

lunes, 16 de enero de 2012

Google announces Android Design style guide for apps

The new style guidelines for Android - which Google has released on its new Android Design website - are supposed to help developers working on apps for Ice Cream Sandwich create software with a common Google look. With summaries of Google's design principles, user interface capabilities and overarching creative vision available for perusal, Google looks to be tightening the reins a little on the previously free-from Android Market, at least where aesthetics are concerned.

Speaking to The Verge at CES, director of Android user experience Matias Duarte said that Google's mission with Ice Cream Sandwich was "to make it beautiful, to make it powerful" and that the framework of ICS made it "much easier for people to create beautiful, simple apps". In that spirit, the new Android Design site covers topics from themes to colour matching to typography to touch feedback - every visual element an app developer could care to name. "If you want to be serious about design, you have to do this stuff." Says Duarte. "Ice Cream Sandwich is Android getting serious about design."

The Android Design site is now live, and while some of the claims it makes about the design of Ice Cream Sandwich might raise a few eyebrows ("app icons are works of art in their own right" - yeah, we're sure your installation in the Tate will open any day now), pretty-fying and streamlining a mobile OS that has in the past been seen as something of a geeky younger brother to Apple's iOS is no bad thing in our books. Check out the full 35 minute interview at the link below.

Source: The Verge and T3

Link: Android Design

jueves, 12 de enero de 2012

Android: The King Of CES 2012

Consumer Electronics Show
Image via Wikipedia

It's Android all over at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas. Android just conquered the show like never before. From smartphones and tablets to televisions and watches, over 30 Android-based gadgets were launched at the tradeshow floor at CES.

Here is a list of 20 such devices that made it big at CES 2012 and are likely to impact the market patterns in future.

1. Acer Iconia Tab A200

Acer showcased Iconia Tab A200, the latest member in Acer's line of Android tablets. It comes with 1GB of RAM and boasts a 25.7-cm (10.1-inch) display, with 1280 x 800 resolution. Available in either Titanium Gray or Metallic Red, the slate is powered by NVIDIA's 1GHz Tegra 2 processor. It also comes equipped with a 2-megapixel front facing camera and Acer Ring--a multi-tasking manager that provides shortcuts to Google Maps, screenshot functions and other apps. This tablet has a full-size USB port for hooking up other devices and a microSD slot for passing data. The new Iconia Tab A200 will be available on 15 January and is priced at $329.99. 

2. Acer Iconia Tab A700

Acer has unveiled its first quad-core processor-based tablet, the Iconia Tab A700. The tablet is powered by a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 processor and runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The Iconia A700 features a 25.7-cm (10.1-inch) full 1080p HD screen that supports 1920x1200 pixel resolution. Apart from the processor, the A700 runs on 1 GB RAM and sports an HDMI-port, microSD and a micro USB port. There are no details yet on pricing for the tablet, but the latest addition to the Iconia Tab family is expected to be released in the second quarter. If the device is priced competitively, it could make an impact in the market. 

3. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Pad MeMO

Asus has unveiled the Eee Pad MeMO that runs on Android 4.0. Primarily designed to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire with its smaller form factor and matching price range, the Asus Eee Pad MeMO sports a 17.7-cm (7-inch) display with WXGA resolution IPS panel, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear facing camera capable of shooting 1080p video and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Powered by Qualcomm 8260 dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the Asus MeMo tablet packs 1GB of memory and has an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor on the inside. The device offers up to 32GB of internal storage, and comes enabled with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 

Read complete at efytimes.com

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sábado, 7 de enero de 2012

Google Android Look And Feel Gets More Uniform

Google makes Holo theme the Android device default, says developers and manufacturers can now customize with less risk of future compatibility issues.

Google has a new dress code for Android. The semi-open nature of Android has ensured that makers of Android handsets and developers of Android apps have considerable freedom to alter the user interface (UI).
The less open Apple iOS platform also allows developers to design apps as they see fit, provided Apple's UI guidelines aren't trampled in the process. But Apple doesn't have iOS hardware partners reimagining the basic device interface--which some would argue is for the best--the way that Google partners HTC and Samsung have done.

Despite a marginal edge in openness, Google has recognized that a bit of guidance about Android themes and styles could bring some order to its unruly mobile ecosystem. In keeping with the company's recent UI overhaul of its websites, Google is requiring its hardware partners to include the unmodified Holo theme on Android 4.0 devices--the native theme in Android 4.0 (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich)--for the sake of compatibility.
"Before Android 4.0 the variance in system themes from device to device could make it difficult to design an app with a single predictable look and feel," said Google software engineer Adam Powell in a blog post. "We set out to improve this situation for the developer community in Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond."

Read complete at InformationWeek.com